Effective public service delivery through innovative governance knowledge exchange
Effective public service delivery through innovative governance knowledge exchange
Gujarat farmers to get Soil Health Cards
In a bid to help farmers in Gujarat increase their agricultural productivity, the state government has undertaken a massive drive to issue Soil Health Cards (SHCs) containing details on various properties of the soil.

The Gujarat government has decided to issue soil health cards (SHCs) to the farmers to help them boost their agricultural yield. The cards would appraise them of the various properties of their soil to priorities their farming options.

The SHCs, which are given under the Soil Health Programme of the Agriculture department, is prepared after the soil is tested scientifically for various properties like productivity, mineral composition, water retaining capacity and others.

The SHCs also contain information on what kind of pesticides, fertilisers, seeds and how much water should be used to get better productivity from the land.

According to Agriculture Minister Dilip Sanghani, giving SHCs to farmers is aimed at strengthening the agricultural infrastructure of the state."With the introduction of SHCs, it has become easy for farmers of the state to understand properties of the soil they are ploughing. This details would help them take accurate action to increase productivity of the land," Sanghani said.

"The government plans to issue SHCs to 42 lakh farmers out of which 23.98 lakh are likely to be issued this year," the minister said. "We also plan to set up 85 new labs at Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in the state for testing 14 lakh soil samples annually," Sanghani said, adding "this is aimed at achieving target of Rs 55,000 crore agricultural income this year." Gujarat's agricultural income in 2009 was Rs 44,000 crore.

Under the soil health programme, every farmer takes specimen of the soil from his land to soil testing lab in his district where the scientist examines it for mineral composition.Based on various components of the soil, the farmer is advised to cultivate crops which would get good yield on his land. All this information would be recorded on the soil health cards which would be issued to him.

The government also plans to integrate the soil health programme with the e-governance programme which could provide information on nature of soil to farmer from a computer at the village panchayat.

Gujarat has eight agro climatic zones and wide varieties of soil on which over 40 major crops are cultivated.Soil health plays a vital role in ensuring agricultural production in a sustainable manner.

Source: Press Trust of India