Brainstorming session on holistic strategy for assessment of soil health held

The top agricultural experts including the director general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research brainstormed on the holistic strategy for assessment of soil health at a special meeting held in New Delhi

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New Delhi: The imbalanced use of fertilizers damages fields and reduces production of enough crops. To counter the same, soil health card (SHC) informs farmers about nutrients status of the soils along with the recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to improve soil health and fertility.

Recently a brainstorming session was held to devise a strategy for assessment of soil health card. In his inaugural address, Dr Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary (DARE) and Director General (ICAR), emphasized on the importance of soil testing and management of soil health to meet the challenges of food security. As the factor productivity and rate of response of crops to applied fertilizers under intensive cropping systems are declining year-after-year, inclusion of soil physical and biological parameters becomes imperative to maintain self-sufficiency in food grains production and agriculture growth on sustainable basis, he added.

Dr Asok Dalwai CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) highlighted the importance of quick and simple techniques for assessment of soil physical and biological parameters, and sensor-based technology for repeated measurements over a period of time.

Earlier, Dr K Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General (Natural Resource Management), in his welcome address briefed about the background of organizing the brainstorming session.

Dr S K Chaudhari, ADG (SWM), highlighted the importance of soil health card, NRM Division (ICAR) involvement in developing Soil Test Kit and its importance in preparing soil health card.

The meeting was attended by Ms A Neeraja, Joint Secretary (INM), Dr Claudia Sadoff, Director General, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Dr A K Sikka, IWMI- India  Representative, Scientists from CG Centers, ICAR Institutes.

The union agriculture ministry has been spearheading the programme where each farm will get the soil card once in every 2 years so that nutrients deficiency can be regularly detected and improved. In the first phase (2015-17) 100 million SHCs have been distributed so far. The aim of the ministry was to provide SHC to all 120 million farm holdings by December 2017. The second phase began on May 1, 2017, and will continue for the year 2017 to 2019.