ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of India

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Tests, distribution of health cards mark World Soil Day

Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, December 05 2021: Nongchup Pukkei Organic Producers' Co-Limited in association with Green Foundation, as part of the Foundation's Organic Farmers Field School, observed the World Soil Day under-the theme 'Halt Soil Salinisation, Boost Soil Productivity', which also marked the launch event of soil month at Kangmong Langoljam Leikai community hall in Imphal West district on Sunday.

During the observance, 55 out of 202 farmers registered with Manipur Organic Mission Agency (MOMA) under Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) brought their soil samples to get tested for organic carbon contents.

The testing was carried out by the farmers themselves under the instruction of Green Foundation's scientists.

Speaking at the event, Foundation chief executive officer U Himmat expressed hope that the observance of World Soil Day would help sour organic farming movement in the state.

Every farmer wants to have good harvest with profitable crops and vegetables.

However, most of the farmers lack knowledge on soil health and there is a strong need to make the farmers aware in this regard, he said.

From last year, organic farmers in the state have been able to produce the same quantity of crops like those farmers using chemical fertilisers and chemical pesticides.

RCM13 Maniphou is the most productive paddy variety, which can ensure good yield without using urea.

This has shown the potential of organic farming, U Himmat pointed out.

The organic carbon content test is conducted to ascertain soil health.

As per findings of soil scientists, soil with 1 per cent of organic carbon content is considered healthy and 0.5 per cent content is considered moderately healthy.

Organic carbon content below 0.5 per cent will not bring good productivity and farmers will lose their investment.

In this situation, there are certain steps through which farmers can improve the soil health.

Out of the 55 soil samples, 27 were found with more than 1 per cent organic soil content and 15 found moderately healthy.

Organic carbon contents in the remaining eight soil samples were very low and they need immediate soil treatment by applying compose and microbes.

Unless treated, the soil acidity level will increase and will become unfavourable for farming activities, he said.

During the month-long observance of Soil Month, the Foundation will provide trainings and carry out activities to improve soil health for the upcoming kharif season in different parts of the state, the executive officer said.

Soil organic carbon testing kits designed and developed with technologies from Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai were distributed free of cost to farmer interest groups formed under MOVCDNER at the event.

Agriculture department also organised World Soil Day under the aegis of deputy director (soil chemist) at State Soil Testing Laboratory, Porompat on Sunday.

Additional director of agriculture Todinang Panmei, who attended the event as chief gnest, spoke on issues pertaining to acidic soil formation and ways to improve soil health.

He explained that using chemical fertilisers to boost productivity decreases soil health and appealed to the farmers to use only the required amount of chemical fertilisers.

He also stressed the need for testing soil health.

Deputy director soil chemist Asholi Mao and district agriculture officer Imphal East Laltinmang Doungel distributed soil health card and micro nutrients to the participating farmers.