Ground-Breaking Agri Initiatives For Soil Health & Farmer Empowerment Launched

By Outlook Planet Desk March 09, 2024

In a significant move for agriculture, Union Ministers Arjun Munda and Giriraj Singh inaugurated four key initiatives: fostering soil health, empowering farmers, and driving a cooperative-based India for a sustainable and prosperous future

Ground-Breaking Agri Initiatives For Soil Health & Farmer Empowerment Launched

On Thursday, Union Ministers Arjun Munda and Giriraj Singh inaugurated four major agriculture initiatives. These initiatives include the Soil Health Card Portal and mobile application, the School Soil Health Programme, the Krishi Sakhi Convergence Programme, and the Institutes' Portal for Fertilizer Sample Testing. 

During the event, Munda emphasised that the initiatives benefit farmers in remote areas by enabling them to farm more efficiently. He stated that with such empowering facilities, farmers will be able to make an important contribution to themselves, the country, and even the world.  

The Union Minister added that the government is working towards creating a cooperative-based India, which aims to foster prosperity through cooperation. 

He said that with women's empowerment, we are moving towards meaningful results. The Union Minister highlighted the crucial role of students in maintaining good soil health. He explained that the School Soil Health Programme is a significant initiative to help students understand the importance of soil and the environment. Under this programme, soil laboratories have been established in some Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalayas situated in rural areas. Students and teachers have been trained to participate in developing their villages and the agriculture sector. 

During the event, Singh expressed that the Krishi Sakhi Training Programme has been launched as a joint initiative to certify Krishi Sakhis as Para-Extension Workers. He emphasised the role of organic carbon in promoting soil health and highlighted that improving the health of soil and animals can automatically improve the health of humans. 

Singh said that real-time data will also be available through these

facilities. He highlighted the role of Krishi Sakhis in making farmers aware of sustainable agriculture practices. He said that they would benefit farming, increase its credibility in society, and boost the confidence of farmers. He also advised the use of organic and natural farming practices for the well-being of all humanity. Singh hoped the organic product market would increase significantly in the coming years. 

Revamped Soil Health Card Portal and Mobile Application

The soil health card portal has been updated, and a mobile application introduced for soil sample collection and testing. The portal has a soil lab registry, and the status of labs is visible in real-time. The portal maps labs with geo-coordinates provides real-time data on soil sample collection, testing, and Soil Health Cards, which can be downloaded from the fertiliser management dashboard. Nutrient maps, too, are available. The app enables QR code-based soil sample collection and captures geo-coordinates of farmers' fields. Progress can be monitored in real-time, and farmers can track their soil samples until the generation of the Soil Health Card. 

School Soil Health Programme 

Under the project, 20 soil labs were set up in 20 schools of Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalaya in rural areas. Study modules were developed, and students and teachers trained. The mobile application has been customised for the school programme, and the portal has a separate segment for the programme where all the students' activities are documented.  

A programme has been launched in 1000 schools, including Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas, and Eklavya Model Schools.  The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare and NABARD will set up soil labs in these schools. School students will collect soil samples, test them in the labs, and generate SHCs. They will then educate farmers about the recommendations on the SHCs. This programme will help students develop critical thinking skills and a holistic understanding of ecosystems. 

Krishi Sakhi Convergence Programme

In the heart of rural India, a silent revolution is unfolding, driven by the Krishi Sakhis. An MoU was signed in August 2023 between the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer Welfare and the Ministry of Rural Development to support their work. As part of the MoU, a training programme was launched to certify Krishi Sakhis as Para-Extension workers. Krishi Sakhis are pivotal in implementing schemes like the National Mission of Natural Farming (NMNF), BioResource Centres, and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). They are farmers, friends of farmers, community resources, and awareness creators, connecting research institutions with the grassroots for technology dissemination. 

FQCTI Portal

The Fertiliser Quality Control System (FQCS) portal now includes an OTP/SMS application facility for sample collection and testing. In the new portal, an OTP is generated by the system and sent to the mobile number of authorised persons. In case of any anomaly, the authorised person may refuse to confirm the OTP. The sample is allotted by the system automatically to the concerned labs on a randomised basis, and the analysis report is issued through the system to the email of the authorised person. The portal can be updated for indigenously manufactured fertiliser samples, including live sampling at ports and dealer sale points.