Soil Health Card beneficial or not?
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According to a recent study conducted by a reputed institute of GoI related to Agricultural studies, the Farmers planting cotton, paddy and soyabean have managed to lower costs by 4-10% and have also cut down on reliance on fertilisers
The Net farmer incomes grew between 30% and 40% as a result
Results of the study which was carried out on sample bsis stated that the yields of crops increased by 7%, while costs were down by 5.1%.
Overall, paddy farmers reduced urea use by about 21%, DAP by about 22% and potassium by 24%
Paddy yields went up by 5%
For soyabean farmers, there was no decrease in fertiliser consumption, but yields went up by 6%, while cost fell by 3%
India heavily subsidises fertilisers, a policy initiated in the 1960s to kickstart the Green Revolution Cheap availability has resulted in rampant use, particularly of urea, degrading soils to such an extent that yields have actually started to fall The current consumption of NPK ratio in India is 6.7:2.4:1, which is high in comparison to an ideal ratio of 4:2:1 especially for N i.e. nitrogen
The Indian prime minister had set a target of reducing by half India’s annual urea consumption by 2022 through the soil health card programme, a high priority scheme of GoI which aims to replenish seriously degraded soils due to over-fertilised agriculture
The government has distributed 100 million soil health cards since inception of the Soil health card drive since 2015
What is a Soil Health Card?
SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely
Macronutirents – Nitrogen (N),Phosphorus (P) and (K)
Secondory Nutrients Sulphur (S)
Micro nutirients – Zinc – Zn, Iron – Fe, copper – Cu, Manganese – Mn, Boron – Bo
and physical parameters like – pH, EC etc
Based on this, the SHC i.e. Soil health card indicates fertilizer recommendations and soil amendment required for the farm.
How can a farmer use a SHC?
The card contains an advisory based on the soil nutrient status of a farmer’s holding It will show recommendations on dosage of different nutrients needed
Further, it advises the farmer on the fertilizers and their quantities he should apply, and also the soil amendments that he should undertake, so as to realize optimal yields
To test soil, the country’s cropped area is divided into grids of 10 hectares (ha) for rain-dependent farms and 2.5 ha for irrigated land
One soil sample from each grid is taken and test results are distributed to farmers whose lands fall under the grid
The grid system will enable coverage of the country’s 141 million hectares of net-sown area
Benefits of the Soil Health Card Scheme ￼
The scheme monitors the soil of the farmers well and will give them a formatted report
So, they can decide well which crops they should cultivate and which ones they should skip
The authorities monitor the soil on a regular basis
One in every 3 years, they will provide a report to farmers
So, farmers need not worry if the nature of the soil changes due to certain factors
Also, they will always have updated data about their soil
Farmers get a proper soil health record, thanks to the Soil Health Card Scheme.
Also, they can study the soil management practices
Accordingly, they can plan the future of their crops
The soil card will give the farmers a proper idea of which nutrients their soil is lacking
And hence, which crops they should invest in
The main aim behind the scheme was to find out the type of particular soil and then provide ways in which we can improve it.