Case Study: Asia

Case Study: Asia

Unhealthy soils in the cradle of the Green Revolution Irrigated rice and wheat are grown on 23.5 million acres of land inhabited by more than 1 billion people in the Indo-Gangetic plains and other fertile valleys of Asia. Yields in this system, which rose dramatically during the Green Revolution, have now reached a plateau, largely because of declining soil health. Farmers apply too much nitrogen fertilizer and too little organic matter and other sources of essential nutrients, resulting in severe deficiencies of phosphorus and potassium and widespread micronutrient deficiencies. Too low a proportion of crop residues is incorporated back into the soil; animal dung is burned as domestic fuel; excessive tillage is practiced to control weeds; few or no green manures, cover crops, or agroforestry technologies are used; and rising water tables are leading to salinization. The degradation of soil and water resources severely affects human health. Many parts of South Asia that depend on the rice-wheat system are now hunger hotspots. In addition to calorie and protein undernutrition, iron and zinc deficiencies are pervasive, particularly among nursing mothers and infants. Agricultural productivity and human health in the region will only be improved and sustained if soil and water resources are restored and maintained. This can be done through the use of technologies such as conservation tillage and planting on raised beds, which are gradually spreading through parts of the region. Conservation tillage is now used on about 1.3 million hectares of irrigated wheat land, where the crop residues left as mulch have begun to rebuild soil organic matter. The degradation of soil and water resources severely affects human health. Many parts of South Asia that depend on the rice-wheat system are now hunger hotspots. In addition to calorie and protein undernutrition, iron and zinc deficiencies are pervasive, particularly among nursing mothers and infants. Agricultural productivity and human health in the region will only be improved and sustained if soil and water resources are restored and maintained. This can be done through the use of technologies such as conservation tillage and planting on raised beds, which are gradually spreading through parts of the region. Conservation tillage is now used on about 1.3 million hectares of irrigated wheat land, where the crop residues left as mulch have begun to rebuild soil organic matter. The degradation of soil and water resources severely affects human health. Many parts of South Asia that depend on the rice-wheat system are now hunger hotspots. In addition to calorie and protein undernutrition, iron and zinc deficiencies are pervasive, particularly among nursing mothers and infants. Agricultural productivity and human health in the region will only be improved and sustained if soil and water resources are restored and maintained. This can be done through the use of technologies such as conservation tillage and planting on raised beds, which are gradually spreading through parts of the region. Conservation tillage is now used on about 1.3 million hectares of irrigated wheat land, where the crop residues left as mulch have begun to rebuild soil organic matter.rice–wheat system are now hunger hotspots. In addition to calorie and protein undernutrition, iron and zinc deficiencies are pervasive, particularly among nursing mothers and infants. Agricultural productivity and human health in the region will only be improved and sustained if soil and water resources are restored and maintained. This can be done through the use of technologies such as conservation tillage and planting on raised beds, which are gradually spreading through parts of the region. Conservation tillage is now used on about 1.3 million hectares of irrigated wheat land, where the crop residues left as mulch have begun to rebuild soil organic matter.

Source: UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force (2005) Halving Hunger: It Can Be Done

Question:

Using this case study, discuss what you think are the main causes and best strategies to overcome malnutrition in the world.

Word count: 600 – 900 words
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