Union Agriculture Minister. Radha Mohan Singh today launched Soil Health Card, Fertiliser Quality Control System and Participatory Guarantee System – India portals in New Delhi.
Under the scheme, Soil Health Card portal has been developed for registration of soil samples, recording test results of soil samples and generation of Soil Health Card (SHC) along with Fertiliser Recommendations. It is a workflow based application with following major modules; Soil Samples Registration, Test Result Entry by Soil Testing Labs. Fertiliser Recommendations based on STCR and GFR, Soil Health Card generation along with Fertiliser Recommendation and micro-nutrient suggestions and MIS module for monitoring progress.
The system has sample tracking feature and will provide alerts to farmers about sample registration and generation of Soil Health Card through SMS and Email.
Soil Health Card portal aims to generate and issue Soil Health Cards based on either Soil Test-Crop Response (STCR) formulae developed by ICAR or General Fertiliser Recommendations provided by State Governments. Based on test results, these recommendations will be calculated automatically by the system.
The System envisages building up a single national database on soil health for future use in research and planning.
The scheme has been approved for implementation during 12th Plan with an outlay of Rs 568.54 crore. For the current year (2015-16), the Centre has allocated Rs 96.46 crore. The scheme will be implemented on 50:50 sharing pattern between the Central and State Governments.
At present, general fertiliser recommendations are followed by farmers for primary nutrients N, P & K. However, secondary and micro nutrients are often overlooked leading to deficiency of nutrients like Sulphur, Zinc and Boron. This has become a limiting factor in increasing food productivity. Keeping this in view, the Government is promoting soil test based balanced and judicious use of chemical fertilisers, along with bio-fertilisers and locally available organic manures.
The SHC scheme will provide assistance to State Governments to issue Soil Health Cards and also to develop a database to improve service delivery. It supplements the ongoing scheme to create and strengthen capacity in terms of rapid and low cost diagnostic techniques, mobile laboratories, portable soil testing kits and referral labs. It provides improved and targeted guidelines to manage deficiencies and scientific expertise in diagnostic and management of nutrients deficiencies.
Nationally agreed norms of 10 ha for rainfed areas and 2.5 ha for irrigated areas will be applied for soil sample collection. By implication, a total of 2.53 crore samples will be collected and tested to generate 14 crore soil health cards to individual farmers, once in 3 years. The target for the year 2015-16 is 84 lakh of samples, against which 34 lakh samples have already been collected.
In order to mobilise manpower and soil test infrastructure, the DAC is pooling the resources of ICAR and also that of State Governments. Thus, all ICAR institutions including KVKs, State Government laboratories and State Agriculture Universities will be participating in this national programme. It is also proposed to facilitate participation by the students of science colleges and chemistry departments of the general universities under the banner of ‘earn while you learn’.
Fertiliser Quality Control System
The Fertiliser Quality Control System (FQCS) is a web based and configurable workflow application developed by NIC for processing of sample collection, testing and generation of analysis reports.
The FQCS will lead to automation of most of the manual activities as listed above and help in online tracking the status of the sample.
The Fertiliser Quality Control (FCO) provides for specification of all fertilisers manufactured or imported and sold in the country; compulsory registration of fertiliser manufacturers, importers and dealers; methods of sampling and analysis of fertilisers; appointment of fertiliser inspectors; establishment of Fertiliser Quality Control Laboratories; and restrictions on the manufacture, import and sale of fertilisers not in conformity with the laid down specifications.
At present, there are 78 notified Fertilizer Quality Control Laboratories (FQCLs) in the country. Out of these, 4 laboratories Central Fertiliser Quality Control & Training Institute (CFQC&TI) and its three Regional Fertiliser Control Laboratories (RFCLs) located at Navi Mumbai, Chennai and Kalyani are under the control of Central Government and the remaining are under the control of different State Governments.
India imports large quantity of various fertilisers to meet the demands. About 25-30 percent of the requirement of Urea, 90 percent of the requirement of DAP and 100 percent of the requirement of MOP are met by imports. The CFQC&TI and its three RFCLs are assigned the responsibility to check the quality of imported fertilisers. The laboratories of the State Governments check the quality of fertilisers by drawing samples from indigenous sources such as manufacturing units, retailers, wholesalers, godowns etc.
Participatory Guarantee System – India
Participatory Guarantee System is a process of certifying organic products which ensures agriculture production process in accordance with the standards laid down for organic products and that desired quality has been maintained. This is exhibited in the form of documented logo or a statement. In order to promote domestic organic market growth and also to enable small and marginal farmer to have easy access to organic certification, a decentralised organic farming certification system called Participatory Guarantee System –India (PGS-India) is implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture. It is cost effective, farmer- friendly and hassle-free. It is outside the framework of third party system of certification, which is a pre-requisite to enter export market of organic produce.
It is a quality assurance initiative that is locally relevant with active participation of stakeholders including producers/farmers, traders and consumers in certification system. This group certification system is supported by Paramaparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) scheme. It in a way supports domestic demand for organic produce and trains the farmers in document management and adherence to other requirements of certification process and prepares him to opt for third party certification, if he wishes to go for export.