Farmers to get soil health cards, says minister

The State government will soon issue soil health card to all farmers in the State with an aim to help them improve the fertility of soil in their lands, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said on Wednesday.

Addressing reporters, he said soil samples will be taken from the farm lands of every farmer and analysis of the fertility level will be conducted. All details about the condition of soil, including fertility, will be available in the card. The Agriculture department will extend necessary micronutrients to the farmers at subsidised rate to improve the fertility, he added.

The plan is to issue the card to all the farmers in the next three years. The department will soon call tenders to fix agencies for conducting soil analysis. The schemes are estimated to cost Rs 80 crore, he added.

The Agriculture and the Water Resources departments are working jointly towards bringing water-intensive crops such as paddy and sugar cane under micro-irrigation system in the State. Currently, field experiments are underway. Experts are of the view that paddy and sugar cane be grown under drip irrigation, he said.

Gowda said the State government has decided to procure maize from the farmers bearing the entire cost of Minimum Support Price (MSP). The procurement will begin from mid-December. The plan is to fix MSP of Rs 1,310 per quintal, he added.

The government has taken the decision after the Centre refused to extend MSP for maize this year. The Centre recently informed the State that MSP will be extended only to those crops that are distributed under Public Distribution System. The Centre’s move is aimed at completely doing away with the MSP scheme, he charged.

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