From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : SHC scheme
Mains level : Soil health and its significance for farm productivity
The Soil Health Card Scheme has completed 5 years since its launch.
Soil Health Card Scheme
- 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.
- A SHC is meant to give each farmer soil nutrient status of his/her holding and advice him/her on the dosage of fertilizers and also the needed soil amendments, that s/he should apply to maintain soil health in the long run.
- The scheme was launched by PM on 19.02.2015 at Suratgarh, Rajasthan.
Details on the SHC
- SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings.
- It contains 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, the SHC also indicate fertilizer recommendations and soil amendment required for the farm.
- It provides two sets of fertilizer recommendations for six crops including recommendations of organic manures. Farmers can also get recommendations for additional crops on demand.
- The State Government will collect samples through the staff of their Department of Agriculture or through the staff of an outsourced agency.
- The State Government may also involve the students of local Agriculture / Science Colleges.
- It will be made available once in a cycle of 3 years, which will indicate the status of soil health of a farmer’s holding for that particular period.
- The SHC given in the next cycle of 3 years will be able to record the changes in the soil health for that subsequent period.
- Soil samples will be drawn in a grid of 2.5 ha in irrigated area and 10 ha in rain- fed area with the help of GPS tools and revenue maps.
Why needed such scheme?
- Soil testing is developed to promote soil test based on nutrient management.
- Soil testing reduces cultivation cost by application of right quantity of fertilizer.
- It ensures additional income to farmers by increase in yields and it also promotes sustainable farming.