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The Introduction Of Modern Chemical Fertiliser To The Zangskar Valley, Ladakh, And Its Effects On Agricultural Productivity, Soil Quality And Zangskari Society

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Chapter Summary

Based on fieldwork undertaken in Padum, Zangskar?s administrative capital, this chapter examines one of Ladakh?s seemingly controversial agricultural initiatives: the introduction and encouraged use of modern chemical fertilisers. Using field data from both traditional and modern fertiliser regimes, and by drawing upon the social context surrounding fertiliser practice, it explores the integration of modern chemical fertilisers into the Zangskari farming system. In addition to the analysis of comparative data on crop yield and soil quality, attention is also drawn to relationships far more complex than the much quoted findings which simply link modern fertiliser use with short-term increase in yields, depletion of soil micronutrients and a decline in soil structure (Brady and Weil 1999). Despite an emerging cash economy and the subsidised sale of imported food staples, agriculture is still fundamental to Zangskari life.

Keywords: agriculture; Ladakh; modern chemical fertilisers; Padum; soil quality; soil structure; Zangskar



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