Kolhapur : IT is a good news on World Soil Day, to be celebrated today that more farmers across the district are opting for soil testing, revealed a report from district soil testing and conservation office.
According to the report, the office this year distributed as many as 2.01 lakh soil health cards (SHC) of which around 36,000 soil samples have been collected for testing. Last year, 1.81 lakh SHCs were distributed by the department and 25,900 soil samples were collected.
Mahavir Latkar, district soil testing and conservation officer, said, “It’s heartening to see farmers are willingly participating in soil testing so as to improve their lands soil texture.”
He added that the general soil sample reading contains pH value of the soil, which lets the farmer know whether the soil is acidic, neutral or alkaline in nature along with its electrical conductivity, organic carbon, phosphorus and potassium content.
According to Latkar, the initiative is a part of national scheme for agriculture development that is being modified at the state level. “Awareness is on the rise among farmers, who have to pay Rs 235 for the soil testing at the city-based laboratory. Testing of a sample may take a week, depending on availability of pending tests in the laboratory. In case we get higher number of samples there are private laboratories that too give sample reports on a nominal rate. The state government has granted around Rs 33 lakh for overall testing-related initiative,” he said.
Basavraj Mastoli, district agriculture officer, said the initiative to study overall soil fertility and assist farmers to use fertilisers effectively through SHCs began in 2011-12, when 251 villages offered soil samples for testing. “The initiative gathered steam and this year around 1,228 villages participated in the sampling. Farmers use fertilisers without scientific information about the soil health. Unnecessary use of chemical fertilisers makes soil infertile. Hence, soil samples bear utmost importance.”