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Soil Health Awareness

Soil HealthCare Toolkit

Soil health is an important component that is often overlooked in our modern society. We take soil for granted, but it is the foundation of life on Earth. Healthy soil is essential for growing food, providing habitat for wildlife, and protecting water quality. It is also a major factor in climate change, as healthy soils store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The concept of soil health is restricted to research, but not very much familiar to the common man.

Soil health is linked to human and plant health. Preservation and improvement of soil health is essential to achieve the national food security. With this aim, the “Soil HealthCare Toolkit” developed is an innovative, informative and holistic solution for the farmers. The Soil Health Assessment is designed to provide a comprehensive solution on soil health, how to achieve and maintain it. It includes the soil testing, composite soil health assessment card and snake and ladder game on soil health.

From last few years only soil testing considering soil chemical parameters is in focus. However, soil physical and biological components are also as much important as chemical one. Therefore, the testing of physical, chemical and biological soil parameters offers a complete information on the alive form of soil. The important soil parameters are included to test the soil health. The soil tests are chosen on basis of importance, easy to perform, require less time, low requirement of training, low cost and high accuracy. The manual provided detailed methodology to perform the soil test and interpretation of the outcome. The chemical methods can be performed with the help of soil testing labs or kits available in the market. In the manual chemical methods are detailed according to ‘Dharti ka doctor’ soil testing kit as an example.

A Composite Soil Health Assessment Card along with suggestions is designed for the farmer to self-assess his farm soil from time to time and implement the suggested measures. The physical, chemical and biological soil parameters are given weightage according to their contribution to the soil health.

Snake and ladder game

Snake and ladder game is designed to make aware about the soil health importance. The game is a friendly way of teaching about importance of soil health and soil testing, impact of unsustainable agricultural practices, adoption of good soil management practices, practicing of organic farming, and irrigation of the field with uncontaminated water and use of less mechanized equipment.

The Soil Healthcare Toolkit was tested with selected farmers of Narmadapuram (Madhya Pradesh), Haridwar (Uttarakhand) and Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh) along with the snake and ladder game. The farmers have expressed their satisfaction on this and are enthusiastic to try the practices and share the feedback. This manual v1.4 is the preliminary effort in integrating the concept of soil health and the tools and techniques will be updated as per field experiences in future versions.