Farmers showing tepid response in soil testing

  • Parampreet Singh Narula, Hindustan Times, Phagwara (Kapurthala)
  • Updated: Sep 28, 2014 23:04 IST

Over a period of six months, only 96 farmers have directly approached the government soil testing lab so far for checking of the quality of soil in their fields and the nutrients present in it.

The test, which helps the farmer to let know about the strength of the soli in his fields, costs around Rs 60 to the government, but farmers can avail it at a subsidised rate of Rs 1 per sample from the government labs.

Despite the subsidy being provided by the government, farmers are not showing any interest towards testing their soil before cultivating any crop and they spray fertilisers in their farms by approximation which could harm their crop and lead to spread of diseases.

According to experts, this test is very useful to the farmers as it not only saves the crops from destroying but also help them save money spent on fertilisers as after this test, only a little amount of fertilisers will be used in farms. This test mainly provides information about the presence or absence of three major nutrients in soil -- phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium.

After analysing the soil test, farmer will get to know which chemical is needed for his crop and he can spray only that chemical in his farm , instead of spraying all kinds of fertilizers, some which are not needed at all, Dr Davinder Singh, agriculture development officer, said that farmers do not bother to get their soil tested and just by checking the colour of crop, they spray huge amount of fertilisers on crops in their farm, which not only destroy the crops but also decrease the strength of their soil.

"Using large amount of fertilisers to grow crops will lead to spread of diseases among consumers, including cancer," he added.

Singh said that they also organise several camps in different villages to spread awareness among farmers about the need to test their soil once in three years before cultivating crop, but they are least bothered.

Meanwhile, the government has set a target of 5,000 soil tests to be conducted in a year by the agriculture department and provide reports for free of cost to concerned farmers, out of which they have completed 3,400 tests from 25 selected villages of Phagwara in six months.

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