The agricultural condition in India can only be improvised by analyzing soil health and its requirements. However, Indian farmers are not that well-equipped and familiar with the techniques and processes that can enable them to perform proper quality testing. Therefore, the Indian government has come up with various schemes, which help to realize the fertility needs of a particular type of soil. The most prominent scheme that was implemented for this purpose was the Soil Health Card Scheme.
The scheme is aimed at providing assistance to the farmers in knowing which particular crop will grow better in what type of soil so that there is no waste of time, efforts and fertilizers. This information can be of great help to them because they will get a chance to learn more about the quality of the soil and how it is measured.
The authorities also plan to distribute soil health cards to around 14 crore farmers.
What Is Soil Health Card?
The Soil Health Card will give the farmers all the details that are acquired after testing the soil samples in the laboratory. Some of these include:
- Characteristic features of the soil.
- Various content in the soil like water and nutrients.
- The health condition and quality of the soil.
- Techniques to improve the quality of the soil.
- Other additional details of the soil.
Soil Testing Process:
The samples are collected by the authorities of this scheme – the Department of Agriculture using revenue maps and GPS tools, which are then sent to the testing laboratories. Professionals conduct tests on these samples. After the testing is done, experts try to discover the positive and negative features of the soil. They also list out the changes that may be required to be done by the farmers. The State Government is paid a fee of INR 190 for carrying out the testing work. The samples are taken once in 6 months after the Rabi or Kharif crop is harvested. This is to ensure that any changes in the texture, grain structure in the soil is recorded and not missed. The soil is cut into a ‘V’ shape to a depth of 15-20 cm for the sample.
How to Get a Soil Health Card?
The soil health card can be downloaded from the online portal. The farmers should first register themselves with their soil samples. After soil health card registration is done, they can use the soil health card login portal to log on to the site for downloading the National Soil Health Card.
Soil health card app was also introduced to the farmers to make the entire process even easier.
Benefits of the Scheme:
The benefits of this scheme are as follows:
- Farmers can plan and execute the crop planting better knowing the soil structure and health.
- The farmers need not worry about any changes occurring in the soil quality because the authorities collect the soil sample every 3 years and report them to the farmers and hence any changes are recorded and observed.
- Farmers are assisted by professionals and experts in case they need any special suggestion or guidance.
- It is very important that the same person performs the testing process because he will know the previous performance of the soil and can make better decisions. The government takes all the necessary steps to ensure this.
- The farmers will receive in-depth knowledge about soil quality and how it behaves with different crops.
Till July 2015, the government was able to distribute 34 lakh soil cards as compared to their targeted number of 84 lakh. Till then, some states like Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Mizoram, Sikkim, Goa, Haryana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and Gujarat did not issue even one soil health card. After one year, they were able to distribute 81 lakh soil samples instead of the targeted 104 lakh.
The above performance analysis states that the scheme couldn’t perform that well as it was expected, but it did eliminate some serious issues of the farmers and helped a lot to get more aware and learn about the new techniques and the ideas implemented.
The extra guidance that they received was very beneficial in the process because experts usually have thorough knowledge about the drawbacks and advantages of specific nutrients and fertilizers. Farmers can now produce better yield using the information from the soil samples in the soil health card.
We genuinely hope that this scheme reaches the remaining parts of India and the people living there also can avail of these benefits.