Soil health card scheme is a scheme launched by the Government of India and promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation. Under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare where the government plans to issue soil cards to farmers. Which will indicate the soil health status and amount of nutrients available on the particular patch of the land owned by the farmer and eventually will carry out crop-wise recommendations best suited for that land.
A soil health card is used to determine the present status of soil health and when used over time. To determine the changes in the health of the soil that are affected by soil management. A soil health card portrays all the soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms. The card can be easily understood by anyone without the need for technical or laboratory knowledge.
The scheme is being implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the state and the union territory governments.
Features of the scheme –
The salient characteristic features of the scheme include –
· The government is planning to cover nearly all the farmers of India under this scheme.
· The scheme will cover all parts of the country.
· Every farm will get the soil card once in every three years.
· In the form of soil cards, farmers will receive a report which will contain all the details about the soil of that particular land.
Description of the soil health card –
1. What is a soil health card?
It is a printed report provided to the farmers for each of their holdings. The report will contain the status of the soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N, P and K (Macro-nutrients), Sulphur (Secondary nutrient), Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micro-nutrients) and pH, electrical conductivity, organic carbon (physical parameters). Based on the recorded observations, the card will also indicate fertilizer and crop recommendations and soil amendments required for that field.
2. How can a farmer use a soil health card?
The card will contain an advisory based on the recorded observations of the soil nutrient status of a farmer’s holding. It will advise recommendations on the sectors of dosage of different nutrients needed. It will also recommend the type and quantity of the fertilizers that should be used in that field. However, the card will contain extremely simplified instructions and does not require any special skill or knowledge to understand the card.
3. Sampling of soil
Soil samples will be drawn in a grid of 2.5 hectares in irrigated areas and 10 hectares in rain-fed areas with the help of Global Positioning System (GPS) tools and revenue maps.
4. Collection of soil sample
It is the duty of the state governments to collect the samples through staffs of their agriculture department or through staffs of an outsourced agency. The state government may also involve students from local agriculture colleges.
5. Time of sampling
Soil samples will be collected generally twice a year, after harvesting of Rabi and Kharif crop respectively or when there is absolutely no standing crop in the field.
6. Where will the soil sample be tested?
The soil sample will be tested as per the approved standards for all the 12 parameters in soil testing laboratories owned by the department of agriculture, all ICAR institutions including Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs) and state agricultural universities and local science colleges under the supervision of a professor or scientist.
Benefits of the scheme –
· The scheme will monitor the soil of the farmers and will provide them with a detailed report. The farmers therefore can decide which crops to cultivate and which crops to skip.
· The monitoring will be done every three years, thus the ongoing changes due to the dynamic nature of the soil and land management practices will not be a problem.
· It will provide a clear idea to the farmers about the specific nutrients which are missing in their soil and hence the crops, fertilizers and other land management practices they should invest in.
At a glance –
Name of the scheme – Soil Health Card Scheme
Launch year – 2015
Sector – Agriculture
Ministry – Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare
Budget – INR 568 crore
Official Website – www.soilhealth.dac.gov.in