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On the occasion of World Soil Day, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry today launched Soil Health Card (SHC) Mobile App 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.
The 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 among others.
The objective of SHC is to provide information about the Soil Health to 120 million farm holdings in the country, Radha Mohan Singh, Union Agriculture Minister said, while addressing farmers on the occasion of World Soil Day in Jhajjar, Haryana today.
Every year World Soil Day is celebrated on 5th December. In India, Soil Health Card scheme was launched in February 2015 in Rajasthan. 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 till 2019.
The 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. The Minister said that the imbalanced use of fertilizers damages the fields and reduces production.
The Agriculture Minister said 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.
The SHC is prepared in 14 local languages and distributed to the farmers. Going forward, it is planned to be prepared in local dialects such as Kumaoni, Garhwali, Khasi, and Garo. The 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.
According to the Ministry, 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.
In Haryana, 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.