Introduction for Soil Health Card Scheme
Soil Health Card Scheme is launched by the government of India on February 19, 2015, to issue ‘Soil card’ to farmers. The Soil Health Card carries crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms. The SHC’s aim was to help farmers improve productivity through the judicious use of inputs. Soil Health Card (SHC) is a scheme promoted and given by the Department of Agriculture and Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. It is being implemented to all the State and Union Territories through the Department of Agriculture and it also promotes sustainable agriculture.
A guide to Soil Health Card Scheme in India
Soil Health Card Scheme is helpful for the farmers of the country. There are many farmers in India who do not know which types of crops must be grown to get more yield. Mostly, they do not know about the quality and the type of soil of their land. A Soil Health Card or SHC displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms. The indicators are based on farmers’ practical experience and knowledge of local natural resources. The Soil Health Card lists soil health indicators that can be assessed without the aid of technical or laboratory equipment.
Soil Health Card Scheme was the first time launched by Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 19.02.2015 at Suratgarh, Rajasthan.
About Soil Health Card Scheme
In Soil Health Card Scheme, the government plans to issue soil cards to all the farmers which carry crop-wise recommendations for the individual farms in all the States to help farmers to improve crop yield. All soil samples collected from different farms are tested in different soil testing laboratories across the country. Thereafter the scientists will analyze the strength and weaknesses for example micro-nutrients deficiency of the soil and suggest recommendations to overcome it. Finally, the result and also recommendations will be displayed in the soil health cards. SHC Scheme is a beneficial scheme for farmers. There are many farmers in India and they do not know which types of crops they grow to get maximum yield. Mainly, they do not know the quality and type of soil. They might know by experience what crops grow well and what crops fail. But they don’t know what they can do to improve the soil condition.
What is a Soil Health Card?
Soil Health Card is a printed report that a farmer is given for all his land or holdings. It contains the status of soil considering 12 parameters – N, P, K means Macro-nutrients, S (Secondary- nutrient), Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo such as Micronutrients and pH, EC, OC. Based on all this, the Soil Health Card will specify fertilizer recommendations and soil changes required for the farm.
The objective of the Soil Health Card Scheme
This scheme aims at promoting soil test based balanced use of fertilizers and soil amendment to enable farmers to get higher yields at low cost.
The main objective of the Soil Health Card Scheme is to create awareness for farmers about the appropriate amount of nutrients for the crop depending on the quality and strength of the soil.
Features of Soil Health Card
The main features of the Soil Health Card are as follows;
- The SHC scheme intends to cover 14 crore farmers and the scheme is implemented in all parts of the country.
- The Soil Health Card guides the farmers about the soil and the apt crop that can be cultivated.
- The government is planning to cover as many as all farmers under the SHC scheme.
- In the form of soil cards, the farmers will get a report and this will contain all the details about the soil of their particular farm.
- A farm will get the soil health card once in every 3 years.
Functions of the Soil Health Card Scheme
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The authorities of the scheme collect various soil samples and samples will be sent to the testing laboratories where experts would conduct tests on the samples. Soil samples are drawn by the State Government by the Department of Agriculture staffs by using GPS tools and revenue maps in a grid of about 2.5 ha in irrigated areas. Once testing of soil is done, the experts analyze the soil samples and note the strengths and weaknesses of the soil. If there can be changes made to improve the nutrients of the soil, then experts will give suggestions to make good changes. Then, the government includes all this information in the soil cards of the farmers in a comprehensive manner. A fee of Rs. 190 per soil sample has to be paid to the State Government to conduct the tests. The fee includes the cost of collection of the soil sample, testing, generation, and also distribution of Soil Health Card to the farmer.
How does the Soil Health Card help the farmers?
- With the issue of the Soil Health Card, the farmers will get a well-monitored report of the soil which is chosen for the cultivation of crops.
- The monitoring will be done on a regular basis and the farmers will be guided by experts to come up with solutions to improve the quality of the soil.
- Regular monitoring will also help the farmers to get a long-term Soil Health Record and thus can study and evaluate the results of different soil management practices.
- This Soil Health Card can become most helpful and effective when filled out regularly by the same person over a period of time.
- The idea is not to compare the varied soil types but to find out different ways to improve soil fertility, to access the different types of soil and their ability to support crop production in spite of limitations and as per their abilities.
- The Soil Health Card will help the farmers to get an idea of the crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required in each type of soil. This can also help in increasing crop yield.
Use of Soil Health Card (SHC)
The Soil Health Card will have an advisory based on the soil nutrient status of the farmer’s holding, which will tell about the recommendations on the dosage of different nutrients required. After that, it will advise the farmer on how much fertilizer should apply and what soil amendments he should adopt. The Soil Health Card will be made available once every 3 years to the farmers and this will indicate the status of soil health of the land for that particular period.
The State Government collects soil samples are twice in a year, after harvesting of Kharif Crop and Rabi Crop or when there is no standing crop in the meadow. Then the samples are sent to different soil test laboratories in the state or country. A sum of Rs. 190/soil sample is given to State Governments, which covers the entire cost of collection of the soil sample, testing, generation, and distribution of Soil Health Card to the farmers.
Soil Health Card provides two sets of fertilizer and organic manure recommendations for 6 crops. Farmers can print the card of their own from the Soil Health Card portal. Soil Health Card portal has farmers database of both the cycles and is obtainable in 21 different languages for the benefit of the farmer community. In India, Punjab is the first state to issue a Soil Health Card.
Budget outlay for SHC Scheme
The budget outlay for the Soil Health Card scheme is about 568 crore that has been allocated by the Government of India. Around 100 crores have been allocated for all States for setting up of Labs and for making SHC.
Norms of Sampling – Soil samples are taken from the grid of about 2.5 hectares in Irrigated land and 10 hectares in case of rain-fed land with the help of revenue maps and GPS tools.
The ideal time for Soil Sampling – Soil samples will be taken 2 times per year, after harvesting of Kharif crop and Rabi crops or when there is no crop in the field.
Soil sampling – The officers of the State Government collect soil samples or through an unauthorized agency. Students of various agricultural colleges involved in the collection of samples.
Significance of Soil Health Card Day
Soil Health Card day highlights the report of soil’s current health status and the soil health status report is prepared by the soil testing laboratory and issued a card which is called the Soil Health Card. Farmers get the health status recommendations through card and increase the fertility of their farm soil. Soil Health Card also helps farmers to increase crop production by using a balanced amount of fertilizers.
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Farmers realize the fertile strength, status, and capacity of their farm soil through SHC. This day highlights all these benefits to the farmers. It is very important to know the type of soil. Mostly, three kinds of soil land are found in India – Saline, Alkaline, and Acidic.
Procedure for collection of soil sample for Soil Health Card
Generally, soil samples are collected by the trained personnel from a depth of 15 to 20cm by cutting the soil in ‘V’ shape. It is collected from the center of the field and 4 corners of the field. Those collected samples are mixed thoroughly and a part of the sample is used for sampling.
Soil test Laboratory for Soil Health Card – It is a laboratory for testing the soil sample for about 12 parameters. This laboratory can be static or mobile or it can be portably used in remote areas.
Distribution of Soil Health Card – From 2015 to 2017, about 10.74 crore Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers. From 2017 to 2019, 11.69 crore Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers across India.
Benefits of Soil Health Card
The benefits of having a Soil Health Card are;
- Farmers get detailed information about their farm soil health and Soil Health Card also informs about the suitability of the soil for which crops. As per the media reports, farmers can increase crop production by using balanced amounts of fertilizers for the selected crop based on nutrients obtainable in the soil.
- A Soil Health Card informs that excessive use of fertilizers is not good for crops. This Soil Health Card helps to save money to increase the fertility of the soil.
- Farmers can take clear decisions on crop selection and crop cultivation. Farmers can know about various soil management practices. Soil card gives about nutrient deficiency of the soil. The farmer will get the health card every 3 years once. This SHC scheme covers all parts of the state and country. Experts provide corrective measures for the problem soils.
- Soil Health Card scheme will properly examine the farmer’s soil and give them a formatted report so this can decide upon which types of crops to be cultivated for more income.
- The appointed authorities will monitor the soil on a regular basis and once every 3 years will give a report to the farmers. The farmers will be regularly updated data on their soil.
- Under the SHC scheme, the government will also employ professionals to help the farmers in adopting remedial measures.
- With the help of this Scheme, the farmers can plan the future of their crops as well as land.
- The best thing about the SHC scheme is that the government pays the utmost attention that the same individual conducts soil analysis for a farmer, further enhancing the effectiveness of the scheme.
- The Scheme gives the farmers a clear idea of which nutrients are lacking in their soil. Thus, in which crops they must invest.
Commonly asked questions about Soil Health Card Scheme
How many soil samples will be tested in 3 years to generate Soil Health Cards?
As per the grid pattern adopted by the Ministry, 253 lakh soil samples will be tested every 3 years to generate about 14 crore Soil Health Cards.
How do I get a soil health card?
You can log in to the Chrome application with the same credentials used in the soil health portal that is http://soilhealth.dac.gov.in or mobile app. There are 4 main sections in the Soil Health Card sample registration form – Farmer details, Land details, Crop details, and Fertilizer details.
In which year the Soil Health Card scheme was launched by the Government of India?
Soil Health Card scheme launched by the Government of India on 19 February 2015.
What is the payment per sample in Soil Health Card?
A sum of Rs. 190 per soil sample is provided to State Governments and covers the cost of collection of soil samples and distribution of soil health cards to the farmer.
How can a farmer use an SHC?
The Soil Health Card will contain an advisory based on the soil nutrient status of a farmer’s holding. It will show recommendations on the dosage of different nutrients required. It will advise the farmer on the fertilizers and their quantities must apply, and the soil amendments that should undertake, so as to realize optimal crop yields.
What is the total outlay of the Soil Health Scheme?
The total outlay of the Soil Health Scheme is Rs. 568.54 crore for a period of 3 years. The Soil Health Scheme has been rolled out in the field during the current year i.e, 2015-16.
Is there any software for the generation of Soil Health Cards across the country?
National Informatics Center (NIC) has developed a web portal (www.soilhealth.dac.gov.in) for the generation of uniform Soil Health Card, which has mainly four modules;
- Registration of Soil Samples.
- Testing of Samples in the Soil Testing laboratory.
- Fertilizer recommendation based on Soil Test Crop Response or STCR equations.
- MIS (Management Information System) Reports
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