Farmers in the district have complained about what they termed as partial distribution of soil health cards, a three-year scheme initiated in 2014 by the Central Government under Mission-mode approach from the Agriculture Department.
The Agriculture Department initiated the soil sample collection during 2014 under three phases in the revenue villages, and has, so far, completed 50 per cent of the task, involving Village Administrative Officers. Along with Assistant Agricultural Officers, VAOs also underwent training.
According to the Nodal Officer of Mission on Soil health Card R. Savithiri, who is also the Assistant Director of Agriculture in Bhavani Block, it was not possible for the Department to issue soil health cards individually since the scheme envisages determining the soil quality in units of grids, one sample per five acres of wet land and 12.5 acres of rainfed fields.
“A majority of farmers have small land holdings and hence, it was practical for the department to choose the sample of only one small land holding that is a part of grid,” Ms. Savithri explained.
Farmers in common grids have been instructed to share the findings of soil health, she said, adding that, to fulfil the farmers’ demands, multiple cards were now being generated for every grid for distribution through Agricultural Extension Centres.
The Department has, so far, analysed samples of 50 per cent of the targeted area of 42,000 hectares, for physical and chemical properties, and has recommended site-specific and crop-specific nutrient management through balanced use of chemical fertilizer along with bio-fertilizers and locally available organic manures to maintain soil health and crop productivity.
As for the remaining 50 per cent area, the samples have been collected, and the task of testing soil with geo-tagging, and specifying latitude and longitude and survey number for easier location, will be carried out before December-end.
In all likelihood, issuance of soil health cards to all farmers in the targeted area will be completed by March 2017, Ms. Savithri said.
Source : The Hindu