On the occasion of World Soil Day, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that the objective of SHC is to provide information about the Soil Health to 120 million farm holdings in the country. The Agriculture Minister stated it while addressing farmers on the occasion of World Soil Day in Jhajjar, Haryana today. It is worth mentioning that every year World Soil Day is celebrated on 5th December. In India, Soil Health Card scheme was launched in February 2015 in Rajasthan. The Minister said that Soil Health Card mobile App has been launched today to help the farmers. The app will benefit field-level workers as it will automatically capture GIS coordinates while registering sample details at the time of sample collection in the field and indicate the location from where the sample has been collected.
This app works like other Geotagging Apps developed for the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. The app contains farmers’ details including name, Aadhaar card number, mobile number, gender, address, crop details, etc. Shri Singh said that SHC informs farmers about nutrients status of the soils along with the recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to improve soil health and fertility. A farm will get the soil card once in every 2 years so that nutrients deficiency can be regularly detected and improved. He said that the imbalanced use of fertilizers damages the fields and reduces production. The Minister informed that in the first phase (2015-17) 100 million SHCs have been distributed so far. The aim of the Ministry is to provide SHC to all 120 million farm holdings by December, 2017. The second phase began on May 1, 2017, and will continue for the year 2017 to 2019.
The Agriculture Minister further added that the key features of Soil Health Card include a uniform approach to collect samples and test them in the laboratory, covering all the land in the country and renew SHC every two years. This scheme is being implemented in collaboration with State Governments. GPS based soil sample collection has been made compulsory to monitor the changes in soil and to prepare a systematic database to compare them with the past years’. The Minister further said the online registration of samples and test results are uploaded on the National Portal of the Soil Health Card. Based on the test results, the system automatically calculates the recommendations.
Singh said that Soil Health Card is prepared in 14 local languages and distributed to the farmers. The Minister expressed happiness over the preparation of SHC in the local dialect. Now the SHC can be prepared in local dialects such as Kumaoni, Garhwali, Khasi, and Garo. He said that farmers should use nutrients on their farms as per the recommendations in the card. This will reduce the cost of production and increase the output and income of the farmers.
The Agriculture Minister informed that the SHC portal has been linked to the Integrated Fertilizer Management System (iFMS) and distribution of fertilizers has started in 16 districts on the basis Soil Health Card recommendation as a pilot scheme. It is worth mentioning that on the Occasion of World Soil Day, programs are being organized in all the districts at the state level to generate awareness about Soil Health. Talking about the progress of SHC distribution in Haryana, the Minister informed that in the first phase, the aim was to distribute SHC to 43.6 lakh farmers and so far 28.92 lakh farmers have been provided SHC. The remaining are being distributed. To promote SHC, various initiatives are being organized by state governments and ICAR, its institutions and Krishi Vigyan Kendras to promote Soil Health Card scheme.