The govt of India has claimed that a study conducted by the National Productivity Council (NPC) has proved that the application of Soil Health Card recommendations has led to a decline of 8-10% in the use of chemical fertilizers and also raised productivity by 5-6%.
While cooperatives like IFFCO has been emphasizing on soil health through its campaign Save the Soil, the Soil Health Card scheme was launched by the Modi Government during the financial year 2014-15.
“The campaign launched with a view to address the decline of soil nutrients, has started reaping fruit” , the govt claimed. It bears recall that under the Central Government’s Soil Health Card Scheme Phase-I (Years 2015 to 2017) 10.74 crore cards were distributed, while under the Phase-II 11.69 crore cards have been give away during the period 2017-19.
For the setting up of Soil Health Laboratories under the scheme the states have been sanctioned 429 static labs, 102 new mobile labs, 8,752 mini labs, 1,562 village-level laboratories and strengthening of 800 existing labs.
The scheme provides for the analysis of soil composition by the State Governments once in every two years so that remedial steps can be taken to improve soil nutrients. Farmers can track their soil samples and also obtain their Soil Health Card report.
While the Soil Health Management Scheme has turned out to be a blessing for the farmers, it is also creating jobs for the agrarian youth. Under the scheme village youth and farmers up to 40 years of age are eligible to set up Soil Health Laboratories and undertake testing. A laboratory costs up to Rupees Five Lakhs, 75% of which can be funded by the Central and State Governments. The same provisions apply to Self Help Groups, Farmers’ Cooperative Societies, Farmers Groups and Agricultural Producing Organisations.
“Interested youth farmers and Organisations can submit their proposals either in person to the Deputy Director (Agriculture) / Joint Secretary (Agriculture) or in their offices in respective districts. For details visit websites agricoop.nic.in or soilhealth.dac.gov.in or dial Kisan Call Centre (1800-180-1551)”, informs govt release.
The govt sources also claim that in the current financial year a pilot project “Development of Model Villages” is being implemented under which the sampling and testing of cultivable soil is being encouraged in partnership with the farmers. Under the project a Model Village has been selected for aggregation of soil samples and analysis of each agricultural holding. As part of the scheme 13.53 lakh Soil Health Cards have been distributed during the year 2019-20.