New Delhi: The government is promoting soil test-based, balanced and judicious use of chemical fertilizers, bio-fertilizers and locally available organic manures like farm yard manure, compost, vermi compost and green manure to maintain soil health and its productivity.
The soil health card (SHC) scheme was launched in February 2015 to assist State governments in the evaluation of fertility in all the 14 crore farm holdings and issuance of SHCs to farmers regularly in a cycle of 2 years. Soil health cards provide information to farmers on the nutritional status of their soil along with recommendations on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
In order to reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers in the country, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) recommends integrated pest management (through a combination of agronomic, chemical and biological methods) and integrated nutrient management (INM) envisaging a conjunctive use of both inorganic and organic sources of nutrients.
Besides, split application and placement of fertilizers, use of slow releasing nitrogen fertilizers and nitrification inhibitors, inclusion of legumes in cropping system, adoption of resource conservation technologies and fertigation are also being advocated.
The ICAR also imparts training and organizes front line field demonstrations to educate farmers on all these aspect.
Under the scheme “Strengthening and Modernisation of Pest Management Approach in India”, farmers are educated to adopt integrated pest management (IPM) as the cardinal principle and main plank of plant protection strategy in overall crop production programme. Under the ambit of the IPM programme, the Centre has established 31 central IPM centres that conduct Farmers Field Schools (FFSs) to educate farmers in mechanical, cultural and biological control measures including use of bio-pesticides against different crop pests and weeds and judicious use of chemical pesticides as a measure of last resort.
The Insecticides Act, 1968, and the rules framed there under mandate that pesticides are registered for use in agriculture in India only after a detailed evaluation of safety. Once registered, a pesticide is legally obligated to display and carry approved labels and leaflets containing critical information on safe use of pesticides for the benefit of farmers and extension functionaries etc. Application of pesticides in accordance with instructions on the label and leaflets is not likely to cause any harm to human health.
This information was given by Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundaria in Rajya Sabha.