Nanotech

A farmer ploughing his land in western India. / Photo by: ILRI via Wikimedia Commons

 

Nowadays, more farmlands are needed to sustain the ever-growing need for food that sustains populations. But farms can suffer from several problems, such as infection and pests. As a move to improve the farm sector, India’s northern state, Rajasthan, turned its attention to nanotechnology.

The government of Rajasthan opened its door to nanotechnology to decrease the use of chemicals in farming and increase the income of farmers. Prabhu Lal Saini, minister of agriculture, ordered agriculture experts in the state to test products based on nanotechnology to determine efficacy and safety.

One unnamed private company offered a set of products to help get of rid pests in crops and improve the number of yields through the reduced use of fertilizes. One of the products is a nanotech-based pesticide made from coconut extract, corn, potato, soy, sugarcane, and other vegetables. The initial understanding about the product is that it kills pests in farms, but keeps friendly insects unharmed. Another nanotech-based product is made of cereals and vegetable extract to increase soil fertility, which may reduce the cost of fertilizers by 40 percent.

“This Gujrat based company, last week, has given a presentation of its products. I have instructed the agriculture university to use these products in farms at agriculture research centers and centers of excellence on an experimental basis to know the results,” said Saini.

The nanotech-based products are currently assigned and are undergoing testing on government farms. If the results are favorable, the government may start initial deployment to other farms. So far, no information yet has been detailed about its effect on the nitrogen amount in the soil. Nitrogen is richly found in fertilizers and animal manure that can poison the soil and nearby waters. It also contributes to five percent of all greenhouse gases as nitrous oxide and is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.