For a developing nation like India, agriculture forms the foundation of economic growth. Cultivation in itself is a source of livelihood for millions of citizens and is a source of foreign exchange via export. The government seeks to significantly increase the farmer’s income by 2022 and has implemented various schemes to pursue this target. The soil health card scheme is one such scheme to help increase the farmer’s income.
This scheme has a different approach to providing assistance to farmers. Instead of handing out cash or direct compensation to the farmers unlike earlier schemes, the soil a health card seeks to measure the fertility level of the soil and give customized assistance to farmers on the type of crops that are deemed fit for cultivation in their soil.
What Is the Soil Health Card?
The soil health card has been commissioned by our honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it falls under the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Income.
Under this scheme, every farmer is given the chance to seek important information about the fertility of his land holding. Fertility is tested by collecting the sample and conducting relevant tests. The government will provide farmers with an official report after the detailed evaluation of the tests. It will contain information like the moisture level of the soil, the nutrient composition, and so on. These significant pieces of information can help farmers in choosing the right crop, thus reducing the risk of failed crops. Further, the farmer will be able to take the necessary precautions for enhancing the fertility of the soil and grow the right crops to maximize his income.
Features of the Scheme:
The features of the scheme are as follows:
- The soil will be tested over a period of three years.
- The scheme seeks to benefit over 14 crore farmers an on annual basis. It has implemented over 253 lakh samples for evaluation in labs.
- This scheme will be implemented in all parts of the country. It is sponsored entirely by the central government. Additionally, it will also provide the state with funds to collect the samples.
- A total amount of INR 568 crore is to be spent in a span of nearly three years on this scheme alone.
- The soil samples will be collected from all four corners and the middle of the farmer’s landholding. The sample will be collected from a depth of 20 cms into the ground. Further, it will be sent to the respective soil labs for checking to ensure the best results.
- The soils samples are scheduled to be taken twice every year after the Kharif and Rabi harvesting respectively.
- The testing will be done in mobile vehicles.
The Benefits of the Card:
The soil health card will provide important details, such as the features of the soil, its moisture contents and the nutrients present in it. Apart from this information, it will also include information specific to the type of fertilizer that can be used to make the soil richer and fertile.
The scheme was initially launched to help fix the reducing soil quality across the country. However, it has benefited many farmers in various ways. It prevents the risk of crop failure to a certain extent and in the due process, it helps in replenishing the fertility of the soil. The benefits can be summarized as follows:
- The farmers with knowledge will grow only a certain type of crop.
- It helps in keeping a track of the overall health of the soil in an area.
- The scheme will have both social and environmental benefits.
Implementation of the Scheme:
In the state of Maharashtra, which had been plagued by consistent crop failures over the past few years, 5 lakh cards were distributed to the farmers. Nasik district of Maharashtra alone saw the highest number of cards being distributed.
A first-of-its-kind scheme, the soil health card scheme is an exemplary initiative undertaken by the government that will benefit both the farmers and citizens alike.