Farmers Encouraged To Test Soil Health

By TheHindu on 06 Jun 2016 | read

Image titleThe Raitha Mitra Farmers’ Producers Company helps farmers improve the soil health of their land holdings and aids them to get best returns from their lands.— Photo: M.A. Sriram

Farmers in Mysuru district are being encouraged to get the soil of their fields scientifically tested in a bid to strengthen its productiveness and prevent indiscriminate use of fertilizers to boost yield.

Following reports of the successive drop in the yield despite use of fertilizers, a company set by farmers in Mysuru has come forward to support them in improving the soil health of their land holdings and help them get best returns from their lands with minimal input cost.

“If the nutrients used by farmers don’t match the nature of soil, the yield won’t be encouraging. Moreover, farmers will end up spending more on the field with paltry returns. Soil plays a key role and its health needs to be taken care,” explained Kurubur Shanthkumar, president, State Sugarcane Growers’ Association, Mysuru.

Mr. Shanthkumar, who along with like-minded farmers set up Raitha Mitra Farmers’ Producers Company in Mysuru with over 2,000 members, told The Hindu that the company has set a target to enrol at least 2,000 farmers to get their soil tested before the kharif season kicks off. The Department of Agriculture has supported the initiative and has come forward to test the soil, he added.

An interaction with farmers had been conducted at H.D. Kote, T. Narsipur, Nanjangud, and Kurubur. Similar sessions have been planned at Ramdurga in Belagavi district and Haliyal in Uttara Kannada district next week. 400 farmers have already registered under the initiative, Mr. Shanthkumar said.

The JSS Vignana Kendra at Suttur is lending expert inputs under the initiative. “We have prepared a questionnaire, which will be distributed among farmers. The soil is collected and a report card will be issued explaining the soil’s nature and other details,” he said.

A comparative study will be conducted between last year’s and this year’s yield. “This will give a picture of whether our interventions have worked or not,” he said. Mr. Shanthkumar felt that the initiative will spread awareness among the farmers since the Centre had launched the Soil Health Card Scheme, which assesses the soil health of land holdings of farmers. Upon completing the tests, health cards are issued based on which the farmers can go for suitable cards and minimise excessive use of fertilizers.

“With only a few days left for the onset of monsoon, we thought of taking up our initiative on a war footing at least by roping in a few farmers so the message is spread far and wide and the soil health card scheme gets many takers,” he said.