Efficient utilisation of bio-wastes could be an important strategy for meeting the growing demand of nutrients and improving the soil health and crop productivity in north-eastern India, where there is abundant availability of bio-wastes (such as crop residues, weed biomass, forest litter, animal dung etc.), and use of chemical fertilisers is traditionally minimal. Production of weed biomass in north-eastern India is estimated to be in the range of 5-20 t/ha. Around 9 Mt of crop residues are produced annually in the region. Considering even half of these residues to be available and 40% loss of nutrients contained therein, the potentially available crop residues can add up to 10,000 tonnes of N, 2,000 tonnes of P2O5 and 35,000 tonnes of K2O to soil. Around 15 Mt of animals’ dung produced annually can also supply substantial amount of nutrients. Additionally, these bio-wastes can improve soil organic carbon, moisture retention capacity, buffering capacity and many other desirable attributes of soil quality. These bio-wastes can also be utilised for production of quality organic manure in a short period of 50-80 days using earthworms and cellulose decomposing microorganisms, either alone or in combination. On the whole, efficient utilisation of the available bio-wastes has great potential to improve the soil health and crop productivity, and therefore needs to be promoted on priority basis. This will also help in mitigating the likely impacts of climate change on soil health and crop productivity in north eastern India.
Acid soil, Bio-waste, Climate change, Crop residue, Organic manure, Soil health