Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana,India
 Sponsored by
Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi
Research Content
Impact of Soil Health Card Scheme on Production, Productivity and Soil Health in Punjab

Punjab state is one of the leading states in India known for advent of green revolution in the country but with the passage of time, the rice-wheat monoculture has resulted in development of various agro-ecological problems. Although chemical fertilizers are the important source of nutrients for plant growth but its judicious and timely use is the need of the hour. The Union Government in February, 2015 had launched the ‘Soil Health Card Scheme’. Under the scheme, the Government planned to issue Soil Health Cards (SHC) to the farmers to help them to get a good harvest by studying the quality of the soil. Punjab has become the first state in India to issue Soil Health Cards (SHCs) during the year 2015. Keeping in view the importance of SHC scheme the present study was undertaken to examine the awareness, level of adoption and impact of application of recommended doses of fertilizers on soil test basis and its impact on income of major crops in Punjab, if any. Primary data were collected from 60 soil-tested and 60 control group farmers from four clusters of villages in Ludhiana and Patiala districts which were leading districts in distribution of SHC to the farmers in the state. The results of the study revealed that the farmers in soil-tested farmers category was younger having large family size, better educated and there were more number of OBC and SC in this category. Also, soil-tested farmers were having larger holding size with more owned and leased-in land but there were fewer sources of irrigation on soil-tested farmer’s category as compared to control farmers. Paddy dominated the cropping pattern on the sample farms with higher relative area on soil-tested farmer’s category as compared to control farmers and it was major source of income for almost all the farmers on both the farm categories followed by sugarcane, basmati and maize for few of them. The results of the study revealed that about 34 to 77 per cent of the farmers were aware about various aspects related to soil testing and SAUs/KVK’s were the major source of information about soil testing among soil-tested farmers and neighbours in case of control farmers category. It was also seen that although majority of the farmers did not attend any training programme regarding application of chemical fertilizers but they were well aware about the method of application of chemical fertilizers. Soil testing laboratory was not much far away from the farmer’s fields and average area covered under soil testing was 5.83 acres on the sample household’s farms. Also, it was seen that co-operative societies followed by private fertilizer shops/ dealers were the major source of fertilizer purchase by sample households. It was also observed that recommendations about fertilizer use provided in SHC showed that these have been given only for macro-nutrients use in paddy, basmati and maize crops. It was observed that farmers mostly preferred higher urea but lower DAP and MOP use in crops sown on their farms as compared to SHC recommendations. As far as application of organic fertilizers is concerned, only FYM was applied by some of the farmers in their fields. Major problems encountered by the respondents in implementing SHC scheme were; less organization of camps regarding soil testing, difficulty in understanding the SHC reports and delayed delivery of SHC reports. The respondent farmers suggested making aware the farmers about SHC scheme by organising more camps and timely disbursement of SHC reports. Policy suggestions brought out that to make farmers aware about the benefits of soil testing, more farmers training camps be organised along with soil testing campaigns. As far as impact of SHC scheme is concerned, in case of paddy and maize crops, there was slight decline in chemical fertilizer usage especially N and P and increase in K usage in case of paddy and increase in N usage in basmati on soil-tested farms which shows the balanced usage of chemical fertilizers as per recommendation. Also, there was slight increase in the yield in case of paddy, basmati and maize crops on soil-tested farms. The implication is that SHC scheme is a win-win situation for the farmers in terms of decline in fertilizer usage along with increase in crop productivity.