Bhubaneswar, September 1 (LocalWire): The state government has decided to develop a geographic information system (GIS)-based soil fertility maps for Odisha.
The initiative is aimed at improving and conserving soil health which is one of the vital components for improving agricultural productivity.
The district-level maps will use gram panchayat and village as units and also help the state government create awareness among the farmers about soil health of their cropland.
According to senior officials of the state agriculture department is already working on the plan to draw the soil fertility map and may use the ground-level data available from the soil health cards (SHC) that have already been issued to over 12.6 lakh farmers.
The State government is also planning to seek technical expertise from the centre-run Indian Institute of Soil Science (IISS) for foolproof development of soil fertility maps.
Sources indicated that the project focuses on the sustainable enhancement of soil health and fertility as the knowledge of soil fertility levels could pave the way for balanced nutrient management for soil, including the use of manure, composts, and biofertilizers to check the decline in fertility and improve soil fertility.
According to reports, several states governments have already developed soil fertility maps to enhance agricultural productivity.
“The department will put to use more technical competence in sample collection and testing of soil and will also encourage the private sector to supplement government efforts,” sources said, adding that the state government will be scaling up its investments in soil testing infrastructure in the coming years.
The soil fertility map will also take into account the moisture content and level of salinity since both impacts the agriculture productivity in a big way.
Soils are also a reservoir of water and its moisture retention capacity, microbial activity, and fertility play a decisive role in mitigating the effects of dry spells in rain-fed areas.
Similarly, the salinity of soil poses a big threat and excess salt contents in the soil impair productivity due to its adverse impact on crops.
The fertility map will also help the state government identify and provide crops conducive for cultivation in saline soils.
It will also help it reduce the level of salinity over time by studying crop rotation patterns and creating awareness among the farmers.