Government to Provide Soil Testing Machines to Farmers

With an aim to improve the soil health, the government will soon be providing compact and handheld devices to farmers to help them conduct soil fertility tests on their own. The Prime Minister's Office has contacted the Niti Aayog to watch over the plan.

"The device will help farmers not just assess the quality of soil but also suggest remedial measures to improve it in a very user friendly manner," a senior government official. Dealing with the deteriorating quality of soil is one the biggest challenges faced by the government.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a project to provide soil health cards to farmers in February last year. These cards contain crop-wise recommendations of nutrients and fertilisers needed for individual farms to help farmers improve productivity through judicious use of inputs.

However, there is a growing realisation among policymakers that the process that needs to be completed by 2017, may take longer as there are several logistical and other challenges. For instance, all soil samples need to be tested in labs which may not be located close to the places from where the samples are collected.