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Now, soil maps via GIS to aid Indian farmers

22 July 2014

OneWorld South Asia

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GIS-based soil fertility maps for 19 states, developed by the Indian Institute of Soil Sciences could help enhance productivity, sustainability and also prevent environmental degradation.

New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Soil Sciences has developed GIS based soil fertility maps of 19 states using data collected by various soil laboratories across the country. This was stated by Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, India’s Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system designed to capture, analyse, manage, and present all types of geographical data. Using GIS based software for soil fertility mapping and Geo-referenced soil sampling technique, the Government has been able to make recommendations on the use of fertilizers, liquid biofertilizers, and inform on the use of bio-enriched composting, and fertigation. The use of nano technologies is also being explored.

A study titled ‘Micro and Secondary Nutrients and Pollutant Elements in Soils and Plants’ found that 59% of soil is deficient in available nitrogen and 49% and 9% is deficient in phosphorus and potassium respectively.

In order to prevent the decline in fertility of agricultural lands and promote soil fertility, the government has set up ‘The National Project on Management of Soil health and Fertility’ and ‘National Project on Organic Farming’. The findings of these projects are used to inform about the use of biofertilizers, compost and manure to manage the nutrient level in the soil.

The soil fertility maps will help inform farmers about the exact amount of fertilisers needed in the soil and prevent instances of over-fertilisations, a practice common in Indian farmlands.

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