Agriculture in India is the basis of the country’s economy. It currently constitutes 16% of the total GDP, provides employment for almost 52% of the population, and is the main source of food, for its people. And yet the poor treatment and survival of Indian farmers are not justified with how much their work contributes to the general well being of Indians, in the country.
Farmers in India receive a small income, in part because of a lack of proper agricultural marketing and management. But most of all, the inability of acquiring quality seeds, not knowing proper soil management, and the inappropriate use of pesticides, fertilizers, and biocides depletes the crop soil's capacity to be productive, keeping the income low even while demand for produce grows with the population.
Being unaware of proper management for the type of soil that you are working with causes farmers to lose crops, which in turn start a lack of resources for themselves and for the rest of the population. But as a solution, the Government of India has put forth schemes to help Indian farmers across the country to both avoid the lack of necessities and promote better soil management.
For example, the current Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley has exposed measures to improve the agricultural sector in the 2017 Union Budget. It hopes to increase the farm sector by 4.1% in the next fiscal year with measures such as:
- A higher agricultural credit for when rural people are in a scarcity of resources and allow an acceleration in developmental activities in their sector, all within the government’s goal of doubling farmers’ income within the next 5 years.
- A Micro-Irrigation Fund with an initial investment of Rs 5,000 crore to deliver water directly to the plants’ roots, maximizing the utilization of water even in times of drought.
- The Farmer’s Portal website for any kind of information regarding all types of agricultural, animal husbandry and fishery information that farmers might need.
- Increase in the reach of Krishi Vigyan Kendras (agricultural extension centres) to help farmers get their soil tested and acquire soil health cards for enhanced productivity.
As an added and principal help for farmers nationwide, the use of Soil Health Cards benefits better soil management. It has been implemented by the Department of Agriculture from all State and Union Governments to provide each farmer his/her soil nutrient status, know the type of soil they are working with, what proper fertilizer uses should they do and the soil amendments that he/she can add:
- The soil health card will let farmers know what type of soil they are working with to understand the type of drainage it has, the composition, its pH levels, etc.
- It monitors the soil to know which crops farmers should cultivate in it and which ones should he/she not.
- Authorities will provide reports on the farmers’ soil every 3 years and have updated data on it.
- The government will also provide experts to help carry out the corrective measures for soil management.
- The soil card will let farmers know which nutrients is their soil lacking, what fertilizers should they use and how much. This will help see a rise in crop production and quality.
The Government of India is seeing to the health and wellbeing of its farmers and making sure their work does not go to waste in mistaken crop management. With the new measures that will work to provide for their farmers' needs, and the implementation of the Soil Health Card that will allow a better and effective understanding on soil management, the future of agriculture in the country has a better chance of survival. And better crop growth will be provide for the increasing population of India.