Every year, World Soil Day (WSD) is celebrated on December 5. The day is marked to focus our attention towards the health of the soil and to promote the efficient management of soil resources. It aims to generate awareness on maintaining a healthy ecosystem, helping human beings to understand the importance of improving the soil quality and the challenges involved in soil management.
Introduction: Soil Needs Balanced and Varied Nutrients to Remain Healthy
Soil needs a regular supply of balanced and varied nutrients to remain healthy. But the agricultural systems being followed today lose nutrients easily with each harvest, losing fertility and growing nutrient-deficient plants. The loss of nutrients in soil leads to decreased levels of vitamins and nutrients in food, which is a most critical problem at a global level for food security and sustainability.
In 2002, the International Union of Soil Sciences recommended to celebrate an international day for soil to create and generate awareness around the importance of healthy soil. The movement was led and guided under the leadership of the late King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The Food and Agriculture Organization Conference endorsed World Soil Day in June 2013 and requested for its official adoption at the 68th U.N. General Assembly. The U.N. General Assembly in 2014 choose December 5 as the first official World Soil Day. The day also happens to be the birthday of the late King of Thailand.
Theme of World Soil Day 2022 – “Soils: Where Food Begins”
The World Soil Day advocates for the growth of sustainable soil management resources. People around the world mark the day to inform and inspire, reminding us to appreciate the incredible natural resource that is source of our food and our livelihood and to give importance to soil quality for food security and healthy ecosystems.
The Soil Health Card Scheme
A Scheme to Improve Soil Productivity
In India, the Soil Health Card scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. Under this scheme, the Soil Health Cards are issued to all farmers in the country. This card was launched to assess the nutrient status of each and every agricultural field in the country. This card provides valuable information to farmers about the nutrient status of their soil and also provides recommended actions to be taken such as dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and soil fertility.
Objectives – Remove Nutrient Deficiencies
The objectives of the Soil Health Card schemes include: to address issues related to nutrient deficiencies in fertilization practices; to strengthen the functioning of Soil Testing Laboratories with the involvement of agriculture students and effective coordination with Indian Council of Agricultural Research; to diagnose soil fertility related constraints and provide fertilizer recommendations; to provide soil test based nutrient management and to provide farmers with financial assistance for applying integrated nutrient management practices for their crops.
Features – A Report Card on Directions to Increase Yield
The Soil Health Card contains the status of soil that a farmer is holding regarding the following parameters: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, boron and pH, EC, and OC (physical parameters). On the basis of the status, the card will indicate fertilizer recommendations and required soil amendment needed for the farm.
The card will recommend the farmer on different nutrients dosage required for his holding. And, it will have directions on the fertilizers and their quantities to be used to get the maximum yields.
Benefits – Guidance from Experts on Choosing Crop
The scheme provides farmers the choice to cultivate crops based on the guidance given in the card. The government authorities regularly test the soil and provide results to farmers. The farmers are given updated data about their soil. The government provides the help of experts to guide farmers on choosing the crop. The card gives farmers a report on their soil, nutrients, fertilizer needed and which crops to grow.
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(With Inputs from careerindia)