Agriculture is the largest livelihood provider in India. It contributes a significant figure to the GDP. Sustainable agriculture is essential for rural development in terms of food security, rural employment and environmentally sustainable technologies such as sustainable resource management, soil conservation, and biodiversity protection.
To give a stagnant boost to the agricultural growth, a shift is required from concentrating on the country’s food security to the farmer’s income security.
Thus among the various schemes introduced by the government for the welfare of the farmers, THE SOIL HEALTH CARD SCHEME is very beneficial for the farmers.
Under the integrated soil management system, the UPA government launched a scheme to provide soil health cards to the farmers in 2007-08. The scheme made a little progress as only 50 lakh soil health cards were released to the farmers. Due to its slow progress, the NDA government re-launched the scheme in 2015 with the aim to provide soil health cards to 14 crore farmers.
Need for the soil health card
The main reason for the introduction of the soil health card is soil deterioration. The soil deterioration is the cause of:
- Excessive use of chemical fertilizers
- Low use of organic matter
- No replacement of the depleted micro and secondary nutrients in the soil
All this resulted in unproductive farming.
Key features of the scheme
- The government has planned to cover 14 crore farmers under the scheme
- This scheme will cover all the parts of the country
- In the form of soil cards, the farmers will get a report containing all the features of the soil in their farm
- A farm will get soil card ones in every 3 years.
Contents of the soil health card
It has become important to nurture the soil to boost the productivity and bring increased prosperity. Thus soil health card acts as a report card that provides vital information about the quality of the soil like:
- Type of soil
- Nutrient content
- Fertilizer required
- Rainfall condition
- Crop suitability
- The content of water
- The corrective measures that the farmer can take to improve the properties of the soil
This soil health card would carry crop wise recommendations which will help the farmers to improve the crop productivity by using the required inputs judiciously.
How this scheme will function
- The authorities will, first of all, collect the various samples of the soil
- Then the samples are sent to the testing laboratories, where experts will test them
- Analysis of the test results of the soil
- Listing up of the strength and weakness of the soil
- Suggestions regarding the improvement of the quality of the soil
- Lastly, the government will put all the details into the soil card in a formatted manner for the framers.
Performance of the scheme
The government wants that by the end of 2017, all the farmers have the soil health cards. The government is also providing funds to the state for issuing soil health cards to the respective farmers. The scheme will definitely bring revolutionary changes in the agriculture sector of the country. This scheme will help the farmers to adopt crop diversification and to understand the fertility factor of the land. Thus this scheme will reduce the risk of farming and the cost of the overall cultivation process.