Fertilizers Current Affairs - 2020

Lock Down: Agriculture and allied activities exempted

On March 28, 2020, the Union Agriculture Minister announced that agriculture and farming related activities have been exempted from Lock Down. This was introduced in the second addendum introduced by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Highlights

Under the second addendum issued by the Home Ministry towards the lock down, the following categories have been exempted

  • The ‘Mandis’ operated by the APMC (Agriculture Produce Market Committee)
  • The agencies or enterprises that are involved in procurement of agricultural products. This includes the Minimum Support Price operations as well
  • Packaging and Manufacturing units of fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Movement of machineries involved in harvesting and sowing. The movements within the states and between the states have been exempted from the lock down.

Significance

The move has been brought in to facilitate unhindered activities related to farming and agriculture. Also, this will also ensure supply of essential commodities to common people during the lock down.

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February 19: Soil Health Card Day

In order to commemorate the launch of Soil Health Card Scheme, the GoI is marking Soil Health Card Day on February 19, 2020. The Soil Health Card Scheme was launched by PM Modi on February 19, 2015.

Objectives

The Scheme was launched in 2015 to evaluate soil fertility. It was introduced to issue soil health cards every two years. The aim of the scheme is to promote soil test in order to promote nutrient management.

Need

The deterioration of physical, chemical and biological health of the soil is considered as one of the main reasons for decline in agricultural productivity in the country. The soils are currently holding negative nutrient balance. This is to increase in the future and will decline the fertilizer response of the crop. Therefore, it is essential to improve the soil health.

Soil Health-Other Measures

Soil Health Management

The Soil Health Management under taken by GoI under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture strengthens soil testing laboratories, establishes bio-fertilizers and compost units, demonstrations and trainings on balanced use of fertilizers.

Nutrient Based Subsidy

The Nutrient based Subsidy scheme promoted fortified and customized fertilizers. Under the scheme so far 21 fertilizers have been included. The scheme aims at balanced use of fertilizers in order to maintain soil health.

Development of Model Village

In the year 2019-20, the Development of Model Village project was taken up. Under the scheme, the soil samples were collected from individual farmers rather than collecting from a cluster.

Success of Soil Health Card

In 2017, the National Productivity Council said that the Soil Health Card Scheme promoted sustainable farming. This led to decrease in use of fertilizer application by 8 to 10%. Also, the overall yield of crops increased by 5%. This major improvement was mainly due to application of fertilizers based on recommendations of soil health cards.

5 years of Soil Health Card

Recently the Soil Health Card Scheme completed 5 years of success. Being launched at Suratgarh, Rajasthan to improve health of the soil, the card provides information about the nutrient status of the soil to the farmers.

Since its launch, 110 crore soil cards have been issued.

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