Effect of land degradation on rural lives

By Ashish S. Moharle

“Land is where we live. The land is under growing human pressure. The land is a part of the solution. But land can’t do it all.” [1]

These powerful and meaningful lines are said to us to save our land where we live or whichever land we use for growing crops and use for other human activities. But the contamination of the soil ( or land degradation) is the biggest issue nowadays and the most affected people are from rural areas, such as the industrialization happened in those part of the country especially in the tribal belt they are affected the most. In the Indian context whichever factories are based in the rural part of the country, there is less accountability than how much they pollute the water resources as well as the land surrounding them by releasing waste without proper treatments. This might be one cause of land degradation some other reasons are the user of a high amount of fertilizers and pesticides too.

In India after adopting the green revolution in the year 1967–68, which helps our country to meet our food requirement by procuring a huge amount of foodgrains such as wheat and paddy, but to mitigate this requirement farmers tend to use a higher number of fertilizer and pesticides. And that time of point government also promotes the same without caring for future repercussions, and now the same farmers are facing severe problems that occur due to the use of a high amount of chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides). For example, the farmers from Punjab are facing the worst scenario due to their land has been less fertile nowadays or even if they want more production then they have to use more fertilizer and pesticides than the previous year. In this case, they feel a tremendous economic burden and that causes their health issues and alcoholism, according to IARA ( Indian Agriculture Reform Authority) most of the farmers those in debt it is because of the cost of production and less income also they further said that it is one of the prominent causes that farming becomes a less interesting job to do, even young generation of the peasant families doesn’t want to be in the same profession.

Another significant aspect of land degradation which makes an effect on rural lives that is a fragmentation of lands, due to less income and high production cost many peasant families have been fragmented and it is a responsible aspect for land fragmentation. Especially we can see it in the tribal communities and small farmer’s families as well, due to less procurement of foodgrains their children are facing malnutrition (Maharashtra govt’s report on Melghat) and these families also facing severe health issues such as Anemia. Because of losing their income sources the people those have forests nearby them they forced to become dependent on that or even the farmers who have trees in their fields, they sold it to mitigate their economic need, but at the same time they aren’t aware of that unknowingly they are responsible for the erosion of soil. The fragmentation of lands are significantly changed the rural economic activities because of its agriculture labours also loss their daily wages job or they get fewer numbers.

[1] IPCC report under the title of SPCCL Aug 7, 2019.