BHUBANESWAR: In a major boost to sustainable agriculture technology for soil management, the Agriculture Department has proposed to establish 20 new soil testing laboratories in the State. There are 11 such labs at present.
Separately, the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) has also decided to set up another 20 soil testing laboratories in its Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) under the 12th plan.
Speaking at extension education council meeting of OUAT here on Thursday, Ranglal Jamuda, Secretary of Agriculture Department, said since soil of 70 per cent of the agriculture land of the State being acidic, soil management assumed paramount importance so far as higher productivity was concerned.
A massive training programme for the farmers on soil and nutrient management has been planned, he said adding, farmers will be encouraged to go for soil testing on regular basis for enhanced productivity.
The department already has micro-nutrient testing laboratories at Bhubaneswar, Bhawanipatna and Sundargarh. Likewise, there are fertiliser quality control laboratories in Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Rayagada.
The Agriculture Department earlier had introduced ‘soil health card’ and about a lakh farmers already have these cards. The objective of the soil health card is to provide information to the farmers on the soil condition of their land and the necessary nutrient management required.
OUAT Vice-Chancellor D P Ray said to meet the soil testing demands of the farmers, the university has planned to set up 20 soil testing labs separately in 20 of its 31 KVKs in the next two years.
This apart, against the existing six agriculture scientists in every KVK, OUAT would increase the number to 10.
“At present, we have just six scientists in every KVK and they are not able to meet all requirements of farmers. Hence, we decided to appoint 10 scientists per KVK from this fiscal. This has been approved by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research at the recent vice-chancellors’ committee meeting,” said Ray.
The VC further said that this year the Centre had provided ` 1,000 crore for the second green revolution in paddy, pulses and oilseeds cultivation. OUAT would lay stress on cultivation of oilseeds and mushrooms this year.