Improving Soil Health - Soil Health Card Scheme and More

Improving Soil Health - Soil Health Card Scheme and More

Question : Recently various schemes have been launched for protecting soil health. Discuss the features of the Soil Health Card Scheme for Indian farmers and mention other steps for improving soil fertility.

Soil Health Card Scheme : Features

• Soil Health Card scheme has been launched in Mission Mode by the Government of India

• Soil health is assessed at regular intervals for ensuring farmers apply the required nutrients while taking care of nutrients present in soil

• The card carries a crop wise recommendation of nutrients or fertilisers to be required for farmers to boost productivity

• Inputs are regularly provided to farmers as part of this scheme

• The centre has also provided support to state governments for soil testing laboratories for the issuance of Soil Health Cards to farmers

• State governments have also followed innovative practices to issue Soil Health Cards such as:

- Participation of agricultural students
- Use of NGOs
- Private Sector participation in soil testing
- Determination of average soil health of villages on a regular basis

About Soil Health Card

• Soil Health Card is used for the assessment of present status of soil health

• When used over time, it reflects changes in soil health affected by land management

• Soil Health Card displays soil health indicators and concerned descriptive terms

• Indicators are based on the agrarian farmer’s practical experience, know how of local resources

• Card lists soil health indicators which can be assessed without technical or lab expertise

About the Implementation

• One of the earliest states to implement this scheme is Tamil Nadu which started the implementation in 2006

• There are 30 Soil testing labs and 18 Mobile soil testing labs working in this state

• Lab at Pudukottai has been declared as a central lab; it monitors quality of analysis in labs

• Soil Health card scheme provides information to farmers about soil nutrient status and recommends appropriate dosage of nutrient to improve soil health, fertility

Other Steps

• Government has implemented Soil Health Management/SHM under NMSA/National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

• SHM promotes INM or Integrated Nutrient Management through efficient use of chemical fertilisers including secondary and micro nutrients along with organic manures and biofertilisers for improving soil health productivity

• GoI is also promoting strengthening of soil testing facilities to provide recommendations for improving soil fertility

• Upgradation of skill and knowledge of soil testing lab staff, extension staff as well as farmers through training and demos is also on

Facts and Stats

• Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana are some of the states where this scheme has been implemented

• Centre plans to launch this scheme throughout the nation

• As per data till March 2012, over 48 crore soil health cards have been issued to farmers to create awareness of nutritional deficiencies in their fields

• Farming contributes 1/6th of India’s GDP and a majority of the population depend upon it for livelihood

• Some of the reasons for low soil fertility in India are:

- Imbalanced use of fertilisers
- Low addition of organic matter
- Non replacement of depleted micro and secondary nutrients
Post your comment