The Rubber Board has launched a soil fertility map of rubber-growing areas in India. Releasing the map, KN Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, said rubber is more sustainable than any other crop. The book Fertility Status of Rubber-Growing Soils of India was released by Kottayam district collector PK Jayasree at the Rubber Research Institute of India premises.
The collector also launched a fertiliser management system to refine fertiliser recommendation based on soil testing. D Shilpa, Superintendent of Police, Kottayam, released the book A decade of rubber research in India: A Bibliography on the occasion.
Raghavan said that since fertiliser recommendation for rubber is more specific, it requires less chemical fertilisers compared with other crops. Changes in soil fertility over the years can be assessed, as the soil samples are geo-referenced, which is important for the sustainability of rubber plantations.
.Jayasree suggested that the Kerala Agricultural University syllabus should give priority to studies on natural rubber cultivation, given the commodity’s vital role in the economic development of Kerala.
Agricultural research institutes should give importance to problem-based studies to help identify and solve the problems of ordinary farmers, she said.
Shilpa said: “Rubber is contributing immensely to the prosperity of Kottayam district and indirectly reducing the crime rates in the district.” The board’s research to increase rubber productivity is a commendable effort to improve the well-being of the farmer community, the district police chief said.
Soil degradation due to erosion, unscientific land use, indiscriminate use of fertilisers and other reasons threatens agricultural productivity globally. Sustainable soil management calls for documenting and monitoring soil fertility. Soil health is also important for mitigating drought and reducing the incidence of pests and diseases by improving plant health.
Rubber Research Institute of India undertook a study during 2012-20 to document the fertility status of rubber-growing regions in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and West Bengal.
District-wise soil fertility maps were generated through geospatial analysis for South India and state-wise fertility maps for northeast India.