Govt plans to set up 750 soil testing labs by 2012

Govt plans to set up 750 soil testing labs by 2012

New Delhi: The government plans to set up 750 soil testing laboratories, static as well mobile, across the country by 2012 for improving soil health and productivity.

Establishment of 500 new static soil testing laboratories (STLs) and 250 mobile ones has been envisaged under the scheme ‘National Project on Management of Soil Health and Fertility’ during the 11th Plan period.

During 2008-09 there were 661 STLs in the country, minister of state for consumer affairs, food and public distribution K V Thomas has said.

They have annually analyse capacity of 72.01 lakh soil samples, he said in a written reply in Lok Sabha yesterday.

Besides, as part of the scheme launched during 2008-09, 315 existing STLs with micro-nutrient analysis facility would be strengthened, Thomas said.

So far, 114 new static STLs, 111 new mobile STLs and strengthening of 152 existing STLs have been sanctioned under the scheme, the minister said.

He said imbalanced use of chemical fertilisers coupled with low addition of organic matter and neglect of secondary and micro nutrients has resulted in deterioration of soil health in many parts of the country particularly in the intensively cultivated areas of Indo-Gangetic plains.

Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) also imparts training and organises field demonstrations to educate farmers about scientific fertilisation of soil in order to increase agricultural yield, the minister said.