About the scheme
- Launched in 2015, Soil Health Card (SHC) is a Government of India’s scheme promoted by the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation 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.
- The Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme provides information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
Constituents of a Soil Health Card
- SHC is a printed report that a farmer will be handed over for each of his holdings.
- It will contain the status of his soil with respect to 12 parameters, namely N,P,K (Macronutrients); S (Secondary- nutrient); Zn, Fe, Cu, Mn, Bo (Micronutrients); and pH, EC, OC (Physical parameters).
|N – Nitrogen , P – Phosphorus, K – Potassium, S – Sulphur, Zn – Zinc, Fe – Iron,
Cu – Copper, Mn – Manganese, Bo – Boron, EC- Electrical Conductivity, OC- Organic Carbon
Based on this, the SHC will also indicate fertilizer recommendations and soil amendment required for the farm.
- 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.
Benefits of Soil Health Card Scheme:
- The scheme will monitor the soil of the farmers well and will give them a formatted report. So, they can decide well which crops they should cultivate and which ones they should skip.
- The authorities will monitor the soil on a regular basis. So, farmers need not worry if the nature of the soil changes due to certain factors and also they will always have updated data about their soil.
- Apart from listing down measures required to improve the quality of the soil, experts are also employed to help farmers in carrying out the corrective measures.
Why in the news?
- A study by National Productivity Council (NPC) on ‘Soil Testing Infrastructure for Faster Delivery of Soil Health Card in India’ found that
- Application of fertilizer and micronutrients based on Soil Health Card (SHC) recommendations resulted in 8-10 % of savings.
- Overall increase in the yield of crops to the tune of 5-6% reported by adopting the SHC recommendations.
- An Impact study carried out by MANAGE, Hyderabad on Soil Health Card scheme found that overall, paddy farmers reduced use of urea by 9% but increased use of Potassium by 20% which is a healthy sign of moving towards balanced use of fertilizers.