Targeted farm interventions made easy with precise soil health diagnosis

Boosting farm soil health in Odisha just got easier. Farmers in the state can now implement targeted interventions thanks to soil health cards being distributed under the Bhoochetana Project.

Six hundred farmers across the state became the first recipients of the cards printed in Odia after distribution began on 5 December, observed as World Soil Day. Government of Odisha and ICRISAT, with 16 NGO partners, tied up in April this year to improve rural livelihoods through scientific management of natural resources. Soil health mapping is one of the interventions planned. Around 40,000 samples are set to be analyzed.

In addition to information on macronutrient content, the soil health cards provide the status of secondary nutrients, micronutrients and parameters like pH.

“Deficiencies in secondary and micronutrients like sulphur, boron and zinc can impact yield. Monitoring these soil traits alongside macronutrients – nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, and correcting shortfall can help significantly boost crop productivity,” says Dr Sreenath Dixit, Principal Scientist and Theme Leader, ICRISAT Development Center.

During awareness talks by representatives of the state’s agriculture department and ICRISAT scientists, farmers were introduced to tested guidelines on nutrient management, and given crop-specific inputs aimed at enhancing productivity. Representatives of legislators and parliamentarians also participated in the awareness programs held simultaneously across Odisha.

In a similar setting at the ICAR-Central Agroforestry Research Institute in Bundelkhand, UP, the importance of soil testing was conveyed to farmers. ICRISAT, in partnership with 5 NGOs and ICAR, analyzed soil samples in the region only to find widespread degradation of macronutrients, organic carbon and micronutrients. Thus far, around 1,200 soil health cards have been distributed as part of a project aimed at doubling farmers’ incomes in the region.

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