Mains Paper 3: Agriculture| Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: SHC scheme
Mains level: Soil Health
- Soil Health Card Scheme has been taken up for the first time in a comprehensive manner across the country.
- Under the scheme soil health cards are provided to all farmers so as to enable the farmers to apply appropriate recommended dosages of nutrients for crop production and improving soil health and its fertility.
Unique features of SHC scheme
- Collecting soil samples at a grid of 2.5 ha in irrigated area and 10 ha in un-irrigated areas.
- Uniform approach in soil testing adopted for 12 parameters viz. primary nutrients (NPK); secondary nutrient (S); micronutrients (B,Zn, Mn. Fe & Cu); and other (pH, EC & OC) for comprehensiveness.
- GPS enabled soil sampling to create a systematic database and allow monitoring of changes in the soil health over the years.
Phases of Implementation
- In the 1st cycle which was implemented in year 2015 to 2017, 2.53 crore soil samples were analysed and 10.73 crore soil health cards distributed to farmers.
- The 2nd cycle (2017-19) was started from 1st May, 2017 and against target of 2.73 crore soil samples, 1.98 crore samples tested and 6.73 crore cards have been distributed to farmers.
- The target is to cover 12.04 crore farmers.
- To enable quick soil sample testing and distribution of soil health cards, the soil test infrastructure has been upgraded, 9263 soil testing labs have been sanctioned to States.
- In addition, 1562 village level soil testing projects have been sanctioned to generate employment for rural youth.
Soil Health Card Scheme
- Soil Health Card Scheme is a scheme launched by the Government of India in 19 February 2015.
- Under the scheme, the government plans to issue soil cards to farmers.
- The SHC will carry crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilizers required for the individual farms to help farmers to improve productivity through judicious use of inputs.
- All soil samples are to be tested in various soil testing labs across the country.
- Thereafter the experts will analyse the strength and weaknesses (micro-nutrients deficiency) of the soil and suggest measures to deal with it.