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What is Soil Health Card: A Farmer's Guide to Sustainable Agriculture

National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture's Soil Health Card Scheme aims to guide farmers in optimising soil health for sustainable and productive agriculture.

KJ Staff
The Soil Health Card Scheme has a total outlay of Rs. 568.54 crore for three years, starting in the fiscal year 2015-16. (Picture Source: Pexels)
The Soil Health Card Scheme has a total outlay of Rs. 568.54 crore for three years, starting in the fiscal year 2015-16. (Picture Source: Pexels)

The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) introduced the Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme under its Soil Health Management (SHM) initiative. Launched on April 1, 2014, the scheme prioritizes making agriculture more productive, sustainable, and climate-resilient.

The National Informatics Center (NIC) has developed a web portal (www.soilhealth.dac.gov.in) facilitating the generation of uniform soil health cards. The portal includes modules for sample registration, laboratory testing, fertilizer recommendations, and MIS reports.

Ensuring Soil Quality

The soil health card guarantees the quality of soil samples that have been tested in the laboratory. Every year the State Government refers one percent of all samples to a 'Referral Laboratory,' for testing providing an additional layer of analysis and certification beyond the primary laboratory results.

Financial Support for Farmers

To further make the soil health card lucrative for farmers, the scheme allocates Rs 190 per soil sample to State Governments, which covers the collection, testing, and distribution of soil health cards to farmers.

The scheme has a total outlay of Rs. 568.54 crore for three years, starting in the fiscal year 2015-16.

The Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) Division in the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation guides State Governments in technical matters, visiting states regularly to assist both to state governments and farmers.

Understanding Soil Health Cards

A Soil Health Card is a report provided to each farmer, detailing the nutrient status of their land and offering advice on fertilizer dosage and soil amendments. The card covers 12 parameters, including macro and micro-nutrients, and physical parameters.

The card contains the status of macronutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium; secondary nutrients like Sulphur; micronutrients like Zinc, Iron, Copper, Magnesium and Boron; and pH and Electrical Conductivity (EC), Organic Carbon (OC).


Sampling Norms and Procedure

Soil samples are drawn in a grid pattern, with 2.5 hectares in irrigated areas and 10 hectares in rain-fed areas. Trained personnel, including staff from the Department of Agriculture or outsourced agencies, collect samples twice a year, avoiding shaded areas

Soil samples are tested in static, mobile, or portable facilities, either owned by the Department of Agriculture, outsourced agencies, or academic institutions under supervision.

Farmers receive Soil Health Cards once every three years, recording changes in soil health and providing valuable insights for sustainable agricultural practices.

The Soil Health Card Scheme stands as a practical tool, equipping farmers with essential information to enhance agricultural productivity, conserve natural resources, and promote sustainable farming practices across India.

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