SOIL HEALTH CARD SCHEME

A Soil Health Card is used to assess the current status of soil health and, when used over time, to determine changes in soil health that are affected by land management. A Soil Health Card displays soil health indicators and associated descriptive terms. The indicators are typically based on farmers’ practical experience and knowledge of local natural resources. The card lists soil health indicators that can be assessed without the aid of technical or laboratory equipment.

Soil Health Card (SHC) is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. It is being implemented through the Department of Agriculture of all the State and Union Territory Governments.

Objectives

  • To issue soil health cards every 2 years, to all farmers, so as to provide a basis to address nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices.
  • To develop and strengthen the functioning of Soil Testing Laboratories (STLs) through capacity building, involvement of agriculture students and effective linkage with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) /State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).
  • To build capacities of district and state level staff and of progressive farmers for promotion of nutrient management practices and balanced use of fertilizers
  • Ensure additional income to farmers and increasing yields and promoting sustainable farming.

Salient features

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme launched in 2015.
  • Soil Health Card is issued to farmers which carries crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms. Farmers can also get recommendations for additional crops on demand.
  • The experts analyse the strengths and weaknesses of the soil collected from farms and suggest measures to deal with it.
  • It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N, P, K (Macro-nutrients); S (Secondary- nutrient); Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micro – nutrients); and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters).
  • Based on this, SHC provides two sets of fertilizer recommendations for six crops (three for kharif and three for rabi) including recommendations of organic manures.
  • Farmers can also track soil samples on the SHC Portal.
  • Under the scheme, village youth and farmers up to 40 years of age are eligible to set up Soil Health Laboratories and undertake testing.
  • Assistance is provided to farmers:
  • Rs. 2500/ha for distribution of micronutrients
  • For setting up of mini soil testing labs
  • Recently a pilot project ‘Development of Model Villages’ has been taken up where soil samples collection has been taken up at individual farm holding with farmer’s participation instead of sample collection at grids.

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