Desertification and nano clay





Nanoclay technology is an effective innovation,which will transform desert and dry, sandy soil into productive farmland by enabling the retention of water and plant nutrients in the top 60 centimeters of soil. Results can be an increase of over 400% in agricultural yield, of wheat, while decreasing irrigation water requirements by two-thirds. Nanoclay is the first technology of its kind to physically and molecularly transform the structure and capabilities of sandy soil. Nanoclay technology accomplishes this by mechanically producing homogenous flakes of bentonite clay that are 0.7 to 1.5 nanometers thick and bind to sand particles electronically and chemically, by a Van Waal binding, resulting in increased water and plant nutrient holding capacity, sustained aeration of the sandy particles and reduced soil loss from wind erosion. NanoClay will reduce water loss due to gravity, protecting added fertilizer from being leached that also significantly improves yields from good soil with less fertilization. Mixing Nanoclay with water and then administering the mixture by standard irrigation systems in the desired area achieve mass-production. One NanoClay treatment may last ten years with “no-till” farming practices and if tilled, will require a 25% retreatment after 4 to five years.
The transformation of uncultivated sandy soil into fully operational farms means not only food security but also the establishment of greatly needed bio-refinery facilities of chemical, biofuel or energy production. On average this innovation combined with high-yielding biomass crops will facilitate biomass production at least four to five times greater than previously achievable requiring less acreage.
It is envisioned that each household will have NanoClay treated plots for growing staple crops, providing household food security and, due to higher yields, extra for local markets. Concurrently, trial plots of versatile, high-yielding biomass plants such as bamboo, reed grass, Moringa and Pongamia will be evaluated as feed stocks for biofuel, chemical and energy production. In addition, bamboo can be used for sustainable, high-grade charcoal not only slowing deforestation and desertification, but also improving the health of women and children who inhale toxic fumes from burning green wood. Moringa is a highly desirable food crop as all parts of the plant can be eaten and provide nutrients critical to the health of pregnant women and nursing babies. Moringa and Pongamia also make high-grade fish, poultry and cattle feed.

Read the full article: Kashmir Daily

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.