Deteriorating soil health has been a cause of concern and that has been leading to sub optimal utilization of farming resources. Soil health needs to be assessed at regular intervals so as to ensure that farmers apply the required nutrients while taking advantages of the nutrients already present in the soil.
A new centrally sponsored nation-wide ‘Soil Health Card’ scheme has been rolled out for the same.
What is Soil Health Card Scheme ?
• Soil Health card will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients, fertilizers required for farms of different soil types and will make it possible for farmers to improve productivity through judicious use of inputs. It will list the vital components of a particular patch of land. It will contain detailed information on various minerals present on the land, suitable crops, fertilizers to be used, and also whether the land is acidic or alkaline.
• Thus the card will contain all basic information and recommendations for the farmers which will help in improving productivity by using appropriate inputs. A Soil Health Card also displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms. The indicators are typically based on farmers’ practical experience and knowledge of local natural resources.
• A computerized system is being developed to allow local agriculture science centers across the country to keep details of soil test results. Soil samples will be collected even from small tract of farm land in remote village.
• All soil samples will be tested in various soil testing labs across the country. After which the experts will analyze the strength and weaknesses (micro-nutrients deficiency) of the soil and suggest measures to deal with it. The result and suggestion will be displayed in the cards.
• The scheme will provide all 145 million farm owners in the country with a soil health card in the next three years. They will be provided assistance by Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
Why the need ?
• Imbalanced use of fertilisers, low addition of organic matter and non-replacement of depleted micro and secondary nutrients over the years, has resulted in nutrient deficiencies and decrease in soil fertility in many parts of the country. It is fueled by a skewed fertilizer policy where urea is heavily subsided, leading to overuse.
• In absence of knowledge about soil health and adequate fertilizer recommendations, farmers often adopt excessive use of nitrogen which not only deteriorates the quality of agricultural products but also enhances nitrate content in ground water and creates several environmental problems.
• It will help the farmers in identifying health of the soil . Thus help in improving productivity through judicious and selective use of fertilizers and water.