Role of Fertilizers in Improving Crop Productivity
Dhakan, Ali Akbar M., Economic Review
Literally, the word fertile means green, productive and growth oriented. Given this definition, by fertilizer, it means a thing which makes the barren land, cultivated, productive, growing and green. The idle becomes dynamic, moving, circulating and more useful. It is a common fact that the history of Farming system tells that since time immemorial, it has been invented that by using chemical and natural fertilizers, more yield of the growing crops can be produced or deficiencies of the fertility from the lands can be minimized and the barren or infertile lands can be put on the channels of production which will be the source of more per acre yield or earning more income and raising the living standards of poor cultivators, farmers, land lords, agriculturists and also field workers who work on the fields in the rural areas of the country throughout the world.
In order to meet the growing needs of the in creasing population of Pakistan, it has been morally, economically and socially emphasized by the Government and the people to grow more food so that the increasing number of bellies can be provided food. The population of Pakistan is increasing day by day. It is growing at three per cent per annum. It has been estimated that by the year 200, the population will be about 150 million which is at present about 120 million all over the country. To meet the food requirements of such a huge population of the country, it has been predicted that even if the current per capita wheat consumption stays constant, the country has to produce about 21 million tonnes of wheat as compared to the current production of about 15 million tonnes. In case there is improvement in diet, there will be an overall demand of 22 million tonnes of wheat which is 7 million tonnes higher than the present level or about 47 percent higher. There are two sources to increase the future production in agriculture not only of food crops but of other cash crops either by improving per acre yield or by expanding cultivated area or increasing the intensity of cropping patterns or farming system. The expansion in land for cultivation purpose seems to be impossible because of the exploitation of all water resources. There remains only one possibility of using more modern methods of cultivation by introducing more productive kinds of fertilizers for increasing the productivity of all crops so that the increasing needs of population can be met. It is why the breakthrough in cereal production in mid 1960s, called as Green Revolution ushered in an area where agricultural science was translated to modern techniques of improving crop yields. The advent of plentiful and subsidized mineral fertilizers has been one of the greatest achievements. The use of mineral fertilizers had helped to feed growing population at lower costs in Pakistan and other developing countries. It is therefore high time to increase the average wheat yield from 2000 kg. per hectare to about 3000 per hectare by the year 2000 which is not difficult to achieve this target in Pakistan because the yield potential in the country is around 4000 kgs per hectare. The similar efforts may be made for all other crops and the horticulture sector. The enhanced productivity in agriculture sector can be achieved by improved and efficient crop husbandry, beginning with better land preparation, timely planning of best available varieties of seeds, proper fertilization and the improved control of weeds, diseases and insects. Such improvements in yields will further require proper nutrient balances and soil conservation under rainfed conditions and better water management under irrigation. It is also important keeping into consideration the modern scientific know how, to achieve food and fiber requirements of growing population and also economic development. The use of mineral fertilizers must be expanded from two to three fold along with the organic sources in order to maintain soil fertility and increase in crop productivity. …