Impact of soil health card scheme on improving soil health and quality: Synthesis of select cases and implications for sustainable agriculture
E Ajay Kumar, Bharat S Sontakki, Md Mifta Faizullah, G Vinay
The present study attempted a synthesis of recently reported research results on the effectiveness Soil Health Card Scheme of Government of India. This scheme is a vital to achieving the goal of “Doubling Farmers Income”. The ideal ratio of the three most common fertilizers that is, Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K) should be 4:2:1 whereas it had reached a threatening level of 8.2:3.2:1 in 2012-13 as per a report by Fertilizer Association of India. Excess application of fertilizers leads to wide range of nutrient deficiency symptoms in soils. Fertilizers are the main factors responsible for providing adequate food for the world’s current population of over 7 billion people, fertilizers will be even more important in sustaining the over 9 billion people projected for 2050.While the primary impact of mineral fertilizers is on crop yields, they also have an indirect effect on the soil interms of its health and quality. There was a reduction in use of urea and DAP by 20 to 30% in paddy and cotton in some states resulted in decreased cost of cultivation. The reduction in cost of cultivation ranged between Rs.1000 and Rs.4000 per acre. In soybean, the total cost of cultivation decreased by 1.7 per cent from 10900 to 10714 per acre but net income increased by 67.7 per cent from 6696 to 11228 per acre. The return per rupee investment also increased from 1.60 to 2.00 after the farmers got their soil tested. In maize, the total cost of cultivation increased by 12.94 per cent from 8176 to 9234 per acre and net income increased by 139 per cent from 3379 to 8105 per acre. The return per rupee investment was also increased from 1.40 to 1.90 after soil testing by the farmers. So, the emerging challenge in present day agriculture is to protect and maintain the soil health which is being deteriorated every year by many of the factors either man made or natural.