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"22 crore Soil Health Cards Distributed to Farmers Across the Country": Tomar

Soil Health Card assesses a farmer's soil nutrient status and advises him on fertiliser dosage and important soil amendments that must be maintained for good soil health.

Shivam Dwivedi
Organic carbon in soil is essential for soil health, fertility, and ecosystem services such as food production.
Organic carbon in soil is essential for soil health, fertility, and ecosystem services such as food production.

Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, officially inaugurated the National Conference on Soil Health Management for Sustainable Farming. On this occasion, Tomar stated that soil fertility is eroding as a result of chemical farming and other factors, and that climate change will be a major concern for both the nation and the rest of the world.

He claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is concerned about climate change, periodically draughts, and keeps working on plans. He asserted that the Sustainable Development Goals will be attained by Prime Minister Modi. Chief Guest Tomar stated that the lack of organic carbon in the soil is a severe concern to us on the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and World Soil Day, which were organised by NITI Aayog in collaboration with GIZ affiliated with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany.

"We must support natural farming, which is good for the environment, to meet this significant challenge and improve soil health. He claimed that the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Modi, is collaborating with the States to promote natural farming. The government again uses the Indian Natural Farming System in agriculture." He continued, "The Natural Farming System is an old farming method used by farmers, and at that time, people also knew how to live in harmony with nature."

Numerous innovations have been made to support natural farming in states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, etc. 4.78 lakh additional hectares of land have been converted to natural farming over the past year in 17 States. According to Tomar, the Central Government approved the National Mission on Natural Farming as a separate programme with a budget of Rs. 1,584 crores to promote natural farming.

As part of the Namami Gange programme, natural farming is being practiced along the banks of the Ganges, and efforts are being made to promote natural farming by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), all Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Central and State Agricultural Universities and Colleges, and other organizations.

According to Tomar, the Indian government also utilizes the Soil Health Card. More than 22 crores of Soil Health Cards have been distributed to farmers all over the nation in two phases. The government also develops infrastructure as part of the Soil Health Management Scheme, which includes a provision for establishing various Soil Testing Laboratories. 499 permanent soil testing laboratories, 113 mobile soil testing laboratories, 8,811 mini soil testing laboratories, and 2,395 village-level soil testing laboratories have been established.

There was a time when policies were production-focused, and as a result of chemical farming, agricultural yield increased. However, things have changed now, and maintaining soil health in the face of climate change is a significant challenge. According to Tomar, attempting to exploit the earth against the laws of nature can have dangerous results. The soil fertility is currently eroding due to chemical farming; the nation and the world should prevent this and uphold our environmental responsibilities.

Several scientists, policymakers, and other stakeholders attended the conference, along with the vice chairman of the NITI Aayog, Suman Berry, member Prof. Ramesh Chand, CEO Parameswaran Iyer, senior advisor Neelam Patel, vice chancellor of the Central Agricultural University of Jhansi, Dr. A.K. Singh, and Drik Steffis. At the conference, specialists addressed a variety of technical sessions.

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