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Special Content

Vol.26, 2017

Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage in India

Arun Khurana 

India is world’s second largest nation with a population of 1.3 billion which is approximately 18% of the Global population. The Global population is expected to cross 9 billion by 2050. Rising population has led to increasing food demand. To meet the food and nutrition needs of a growing population requires a sustainable approach that puts thrust on increasing productivity against the background of lower yields and decreasing farm sizes. It requires a push from all stakeholders – the farmer, the government and the agrochemical industry collectively so that the changing needs of the nation are met. Approximately 25% of the global crop output is lost due to attacks by pests, weeds and diseases which doesn’t predict well for farming given the critical challenges ahead and thus agrochemicals have an increasing role to play.
In other words, A UN study on global population trends predicts that India will surpass China to become the most populous nation in the world by 2022. With a present size of 1.32 billion, India currently supports nearly 17.84% of the world population, with 2.4% land resources and 4 % of water resources. It is also noted that about 15-25% potential crop production is lost due to pests, weeds and diseases.   These indeed are challenging times. Keeping   pace with these growing numbers, the country will not only have to raise its agricultural production but also the productivity to ensure food and nutrition security of the nation. Crop protection and crop enhancement solutions, based on best global practices and the latest technologies available are the answer. There are good emerging trends and solutions for sustainable crop protection which include crop protection chemicals, agronomy, fertigation, seed treatment, bio-technology development etc.  The next generation agriculture in the country will have to encompass all such possible solutions using the best mode in a given scenario.  The sector faces many challenges and solution to same can lead to India becoming a global manufacturing hub of quality crop protection chemicals. Although yield per hectare has doubled in the past years, Indian agriculture is still grappling with challenges like high monsoon dependency, unpredictable weather patterns, reduction in arable land, low per hectare yield, increase in pest attacks, etc.
Agrochemicals can play a major role in enhancing productivity and crop protection post-harvest. They are diluted in recommended doses and applied on seeds, soil, irrigation water and crops to prevent damage from pests, weeds and diseases. Insecticides are the largest sub-segment of agrochemicals with 60% market share, whereas herbicides with16% market share are the fastest growing segment in India.
Crop protection is the science of managing pests, plant diseases, weeds that damage agricultural crops and forestry. Agricultural crops include field crops (maize, rice, wheat, etc.), vegetable crops (cabbages, potatoes, etc.) and fruit and horticultural crops. It encompasses:
•Pesticide-based approaches such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides
•Biological pest control approaches such as cover crops, trap crops and beetle banks
•Barrier-based approaches such as agrotextiles and bird netting
•Animal psychology-based approaches such as bird scarers
•Biotechnology-based approaches such as plant breeding and genetic modification
The problem of crop protection has changed dramatically since 1945. There is now a whole arsenal of chemicals with which to combat agricultural pests and diseases, but this development has itself many drawbacks. Such sophisticated techniques are available only to a minority of farmers; in most parts of the world the standard of crop protection remains abysmally low. In addition, modern crop protection methods have been criticized for relying too heavily on chemical control. Biological controls, both natural and
contrived, have been neglected. In some cases involving misuse of agricultural chemicals, crops must be protected from the very measures intended for their
protection. Meanwhile previously localized pests and diseases continue to spread worldwide.
Traditionally, agrochemicals have been manufactured through chemical synthesis but lately biochemical processes are also gaining popularity. Usually, agrochemicals involve an active ingredient in a definite concentration along with adjuvants which enhance their performance, safety and usability. The agrochemicals are diluted in recommended doses and applied on seeds, soil, irrigation water and crops to prevent the damages from pests, weeds and diseases.
Therefore to improve crop performance, yield or to control pests, agrochemicals is the most relevant and reliable solution in the current context. Agrochemicals are substances that are manufactured through chemicals or bio-chemical processes. They contain active ingredients in a definite concentration along with other material which increases the performance and enhance safety of the crops. Compared to the past the environmental and toxicological property of these chemicals has increased considerably. Research aims to improve chemicals that are not just potent but are specific for the required process while not affecting the environment in any other way.
The Locust Warning Organization (LWO) would continue to keep constant vigil on locust activity in the scheduled desert Area of 2.00 lakh sq. km. The Remote Sensing Laboratory, Jodhpur, the locust control potential of LWO (10 circles and 1 hectare) and locust research facilities at FSIL, Bikaner are also being strengthened during X Plan.  Keeping in view the locust invasion of 1993, Locust Surveillance in the    strategic areas has been intensified. India is a member of Desert Locust Control Committee of FAO and South West Asia Commission for Desert Locust control.
Quality control of pesticides would be accorded highest priority to ensure that the agro-chemicals used have the
requisite degree of efficacy.  The  existing  facilities  of  Central  Insecticide  Laboratory, Regional  Pesticides  Testing 
Laboratories,  at  Chandigarh  and  Kanpur  would  be  strengthened  to   supplement  the  resources  of  state/UT  Governments  in  the  analysis  of  pesticides  samples  for  monitoring  their  quality  to  ensure  availability  of  quality  pesticides to  the  farmers.
Quarantines have been used for centuries to contain harmful pests and deadly pathogens.  Plant pest quarantines are imposed to prevent artificial introduction or to limit the spread of agricultural plant pests. Such quarantines may restrict the production, movement or existence of plants, plant products, animals, animal products, or any other articles or material, or activity of people which could result in the artificial introduction or spread of the specified pest(s).
While pests and diseases of growing crops attract widespread attention, the infestation of stored agricultural commodities was recognized less, because of the insidious nature of the attack. Losses in stored grains were tremendous but they could be reduced if modern improved techniques in grain storage were introduced and adequate training given to personnel responsible for the management and operation of storages.
The responsibility of plant protection also includes addressing phytosanitary issues concerning trade. In the past many diseases are responsible for food scarcities including famines. In addition to endemic problems there are many crop pests which are entered India from other countries because in earlier years India did not have an effective control measure (plant quarantine) system to stop the introduction of exotic pests, diseases and weeds. Cottony cushion scale, woolly aphid, San Jose scale, golden cyst nematode of potatoes, the giant African snail are some exotic pest introduced into our country and cause extensive damage. In view of increases in quantum of import and export of plant commodities during the recent years, there is a distinct possibility of moving insect pests and diseases from their original native habitation to new location. One of the methods of crop protection is to exclude the pests from entering in to new area. The method of exclusion of the pests is enforced through certain legal measures commonly known as Quarantine. The term Quarantine as French word literally means 40 day period. Quarantine can be defined “as a legal restriction on the movement of Agricultural commodities for the purpose of exclusion, prevention or delay in the spread of plant pests and diseases in uninfected areas”. Plant Quarantine regulations are promulgated by the national and the state governments to prevent the introduction and spread of harmful pests and pathogens. Protection of the plant and plant products by quarantine however only become the governments at the turn of this century, following a series of catastrophic pest and diseases epidemics in different parts of the world. Exotic organisms when introduced have caused extensive damage. Classical example of introduction of late blight of potato (Phytopthora infestans) is one of the famous example for what an
introduced disease can do to change the course of history. It occurred in an epidemic form in 1845 and devastated the entire Irish potato crop leading to death of millions of people due to starvation.
On the global front, crop protection chemicals sales in almost all the regions declined in 2015, with the sharpest falls occurring in Europe and Latin America. Weakening herbicide prices, varying weather including the El Nino phenomenon and weak rainfalls caused a slump in sales. One of the worst droughts was encountered in parts of Brazil and USA. Moreover, commodity prices declined worldwide, making it imperative for farmers to moderate costs. Currencies weakened against the US Dollar in several countries. Crop protection chemical purchases were postponed or not done as a result of which companies had to grapple with high inventories.  As a result, exports from India increased marginally by around 2.5% in Financial Year 2015.
Financial Year 2015 had been a challenging year for crop protection chemicals market in India as well as throughout the world. Weak rainfall/droughts, severe decline in the commodity prices, and currency devaluation in several countries have affected the growth of crop protection chemicals market. The impact of these factors is likely to weigh on the sector for few more years. Indian agrochemicals market will be driven by growth in herbicides and fungicides, increasing awareness towards judicious use of agrochemicals, contract manufacturing and export opportunities.  At present, per hectare consumption of pesticides in India is amongst the lowest in the world and stands at 0.6 kg/ha against 5-7 kg/ha in the UK and around 13 kg/ha in China. With the increase in awareness and market penetration, consumption is likely to improve in the near future. Still there are challenges like non-genuine products, low focus on R&D by domestic manufacturers, inefficiencies in the supply chain etc. which need to be addressed on priority.
Financial Year 2015 has been a challenging year for crop protection chemicals market in India as well as throughout the world.  As per Economic survey of India, agriculture sector had grown by 1.1% in Financial Year 2015. The country faced weak monsoons with rainfall falling 12% short of expectations. A number of states were affected due to drought like conditions especially during the Kharif season. Financial Year 2015 had been a stagnant year for Indian Crop protection industry which experienced a marginal growth of 2%. Increased farm production will translate into a better demand for crop protection chemicals. Input prices for crop protection chemical companies are likely to remain subdued in the near future which will impact selling prices for farmers. Due to this, the market could grow in volume terms, but in value terms, growth would be moderate. The long term drivers like increasing population, current low capita consumption of pesticides, decreasing arable land, focus on productivity and increasing purchasing power would continue to remain intact and will drive the global crop protection market.
Every year in India pests and diseases eat away on an average 15-25% of food produced by the farmers. Due to the rising population and decreasing arable land, demand for food grains is increasing at a faster pace when compared to its production. This therefore necessitates putting more thrust on crop productivity enhancement as well as crop protection methods. Use of crop protection chemicals can increase crop productivity by 25-50%, by mitigating crop loss due to pest attacks. Thus, crop protection chemicals are also very essential to ensure food and
nutritional security.
The Indian crop protection market is dominated by Insecticides, which form almost 60% of domestic crop protection chemicals market. The major applications are found in rice and cotton crops. Fungicides and Herbicides are the largest growing segments accounting for 18% and 16% respectively of total crop protection chemicals market respectively. As the weeds grow in damp and warm weather and die in cold seasons, the sale of herbicides is seasonal. Rice and wheat crops are the major application areas for herbicides. Increasing labor costs and labor shortage are key growth drivers for herbicides.
The fungicides find application in fruits, vegetables and rice. The key growth drivers for fungicides include a shift in agriculture from cash crops to fruits and vegetables and government support for exports of fruits and vegetables. Bio-pesticides include all biological materials organisms, which can be used to control pests. Currently bio- pesticides constitute only 3% of Indian crop protection market; however there are significant growth opportunities for this product segment due to increasing concerns of safety and toxicity of pesticides, stringent regulations and government support.
Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana and Seemandhra), Maharashtra and Punjab are top three states contributing to 45% of pesticide consumption in India. Andhra Pradesh is the leading consumer with 24% share. The top seven states together account for more than 70% of crop protection chemicals usage in India.
Contract Manufacturing and Export Opportunities: The export of pesticides from India has seen a strong growth over the last few years. Globally, India is the thirteenth largest exporter of pesticides. Most of the exports are off-patent products. The major exports from India happen to Brazil, USA, France and Netherlands. The key growth drivers are India’s capability in low cost manufacturing, availability of technically trained manpower, seasonal domestic demand, overcapacity, better price realization globally and strong presence in generic pesticide manufacturing (India has process technologies for more than 60 generic molecules). Due to the reasons mentioned above, India offers good scope for contract manufacturing as well. Post tsunami, Japanese companies are trying to build manufacturing capacities outside Japan to de-risk themselves. The Japanese companies are very particular about confidentiality and intellectual property protection and some of them have seen opportunity in India and are now creating a base here. The deal between Sumitomo and Excel Crop Care is a recent example. More such deals are possible in the coming years as it will give Indian companies the access to technology which they need and the global MNC’s a fast track entry into the country.
Agrochemicals worth USD 4.1 billion are expected to go off-patent by 2020. This provides significant export opportunities for Indian companies which have expertise in generic segment. Top 6 importing nations constitute only 44% of India’s agrochemical exports. This also indicates export potential for Indian companies. In order to build a strong export base, companies could set up marketing offices in association with domestic players in export geographies. Companies could also look for strategic alliances with local companies to expand their marketing and distribution reach. Merger and acquisition opportunities could also be explored to increase their global presence.
Key growth drivers for agrochemicals are the following:
*Growth in herbicides and fungicides: Labor shortage, rising labor costs and growth in GM crops has led to growth in the use of herbicides. The herbicide consumption in India stands at 0.4 USD billion in Financial Year 2015 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% over the next five years to reach ~0.8 USD billion by Financial Year 2020. On the other hand the fungicide industry in India has grown due to the growth in Indian horticulture industry, which has grown at a CAGR of 7.5% over the last five years.
*Low consumption of pesticides in India: The per hectare consumption of pesticides in India is amongst the lowest in the world and currently stands at 0.6 kg/ha against 5-7 kg/ha in the UK and at almost 20 times  ~ 13 kg/ha in China .  In order to increase yield and ensure food security for its enormous population agrochemicals penetration in India is bound to go up.
The other major growth drivers for agrochemicals are the following:
*Formation of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) to counter the difficulties faced due to land fragmentation
*Availability and dissemination of appropriate technologies that depend on quality of research and extent of skill development
*Plan expenditure on agriculture and in infrastructure which together with policy must aim to improve functioning of markets and more efficient use of natural resources
*Governance in terms of institutions that make possible better delivery of
services like credit, animal health and of quality inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and farm machinery
India’s crop protection industry is going to be worth $6.3bn by 2020. Indian crop protection industry is estimated to grow by 7.5 per cent per annum. Indian crop protection Industry was estimated at $4.4 billion in Financial Year 2014-15 of which 47 per cent are exports. The industry is dominated by insecticides which contribute to 60 per cent of the overall demand, followed by fungicides and herbicides which account for 18 per cent and 16 per cent of the demand respectively. Agrochemicals play a critical role in ensuring food and nutrition security of the nation. With estimated 355 million tonnes per annum food grain requirement by 2030 from current 253 million tonnes, efficient usage of crop protection products and solutions for Indian agriculture are the need of the hour. In order to realize the true potential, Industry, Government and Regulatory bodies need to work in tandem and embrace digital technologies to further improve farmer connect. The Indian agriculture sector is facing critical challenges like reduction in arable land, decreasing farm size, increasing pest attacks, low per hectare yield and a shift towards animal products consumption, all of which are leading to demand outpacing supply in the country’s food chain. Agrochemicals could play a significant role in overcoming this imbalance.
India is the fourth largest global producer of agrochemicals after the US, Japan and China. This segment generated a value of USD 4.4 billion in Financial Year 2015 and is expected to grow at 7.5% per annum to reach USD 6.3 billion by Financial Year 2020. Approximately 50% of the demand comes from domestic consumers and the rest from exports. During the same period, the domestic demand is expected to grow at 6.5% per annum and exports at 9% per annum. Indian agrochemical industry, which was estimated at $ 4.4 billion in Financial Year 2015, is expected to grow at 7.5 percent annually to reach $ 6.3 billion by Financial Year 2020, with domestic demand growing at 6.5 percent per annum and export demand at 9 percent per annum.
Recently, five communities and 10 farmers were awarded by the Government with Plant Genome Savior. One needs to analyze the critical role of Plant Genome and the PPV&FR Act in development of sustainable farming in India. The Central Government has set up a panel to suggest ways to double farm income. Along with other components, agriculture research would play an important role in doubling farmers’ income by 2022. The Indian agricultural research system is one of the strongest in the world. The challenge before the country is to develop new and improved varieties/hybrid suitable to various agro climatic regions and also to counter the biotic and abiotic stresses while improving productivity in a sustainable manner. However, research and experiments are not confined to laboratories. Communities and individual farmers are also contributing. Five communities from different parts of the country and 10 farmers were given awards for their contribution in supporting conservation and use of plant genetic resources the form of ‘farmer’s varieties.’ These varieties are the foundation stones in developing improved varieties/hybrids, thus supporting the efforts of improving higher productivity in all crops.
The quantum of import and export of plant commodities have been increased during the recent years, there is a distinct possibility of moving insect pests and diseases from their original native habitation to new location. Cottony cushion scale, woolly aphid, San Jose scale, golden cyst nematode of potatoes, the giant African snail are some exotic pest introduced into our country and cause extensive damage. So to prevent the introduction of exotic pests, diseases and weeds from foreign countries or within country, legal restrictions are enforced commonly known as Quarantine. Plant Quarantine regulatory measures are taken at the national level (Domestic Quarantine) as well as international level (Foreign Quarantine). The enforcement of the quarantine measures is supported by legal enactments, called quarantine laws. It acts as an important tool in excluding pests from the crop. Effective implementation of quarantine is highly emphasized for manage of pests, which in turn helps in maintaining the productivity of crops. The PQ measures acts as an important tool in excluding pests from the crop. Effective implementation of quarantine is highly emphasized for management of pests, which in turn helps in maintaining the productivity of crops.
Crop Protection Chemicals or Agrochemicals are an important input for facilitating pre and post-harvest management and thus ensuring national food security. The Agrochemicals sector has huge unrealized potential for growth, given the presently very low level of application as compared to global norms. Further, it is also highly export intensive, with more than 50% of production fully exported. The sector faces many challenges and solution to same can lead to India becoming a global manufacturing hub of quality Crop Protection chemicals.
There is a significant share of non-genuine pesticides which include counterfeit, spurious, adulterated or sub-standard products. According to industry estimates the non-genuine pesticides could account for more than 40% of the pesticides sold in India in Financial Year 2014. These products are inferior formulations which are unable to kill the pests or kill them efficiently. They also result in by-products which may significantly harm the soil and environment. Apart from crop loss and damage to soil fertility, use of non-genuine products leads to loss of revenue to farmers, agrochemical companies and government.
Some of the key reasons for use of non-genuine products are lack of awareness amongst the farmers, difficulty in differentiating between genuine and non-genuine products, supply chain inefficiencies, law enforcement challenges and influencing power of distributors/retailers.
A.Stringent regulations: Stringent environmental regulations across the world are increasing the cost of developing new products and simultaneously delaying the introduction of new products in the market. For instance, in the European Union any agrochemical product if found to be mutagenic, carcinogenic or classified as an endocrine disruptor would not achieve registration or re-registration irrespective of the level of exposure generated
B.Low focus on R&D by domestic manufacturers: R&D for novel molecule discovery requires huge capital and manpower investments. Indian Companies spend only 1-2% of their revenues in Research and Development as against the global MNCs which invest about 8-10% of their revenues. This makes Indian manufacturers uncompetitive globally in specialty molecules.
C.Lack of education and awareness among farmers: It is important to educate the farmers about the appropriate kind of pesticide, its dosage and quantity and application frequency. However it is not easy to reach the farmers owing to differences in regional languages and dialects and a general inertia towards adoption of newer products on account of possible risks of crop failure. The main point of contact between the farmers and the manufacturers are the retailers who don’t have adequate technical expertise and are thus unable to impart proper product understanding to the farmers. It is also very difficult for the farmers to convey their needs effectively to the manufacturers.
D.Need for efficient distribution systems: The large number of end users and the predominantly generic nature of the market make it essential to have a strong and efficient distribution network for the crop protection market. However, the industry has been plagued by problems arising out of supply chain inefficiencies and inadequate infrastructure which result in postharvest losses estimated at INR 45,000 crore every year. Lack of efficient distribution system also makes it difficult for agrochemical companies to reach out to the farmers and promote their products and educate them about their benefits.
In India, plant protection continues to play a significant role in achieving targets of crops production. The major thrust areas of plant protection are promotion of Integrated Pest management, ensuring availability of safe and quality pesticides for sustaining crop production from the ravages of pests and diseases,   streamlining the quarantine measures for accelerating the introduction of new high yielding crop varieties,   besides eliminating the chances of entry of exotic pests and for human resource development including   empowerment of women in plant protection skills. Keeping in view the ill effects of pesticide and also National policy on Agriculture, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach has been adopted as a cardinal principle and main plank of plant protection in the country in the overall crop production programme. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a broad ecological approach for managing pest problems encompassing available methods and techniques of    pest control such as cultural, mechanical, biological and chemical in a compatible manner. The objectives of the IPM approach are to increase crop production with minimum input costs, minimize environmental pollution and maintain ecological equilibrium.
The indiscriminate and unilateral use of pesticides was the only plant protection tool during sixties and seventies for sustaining of agricultural production potential of the high yielding varieties under the intensive cropping systems. This has led to several ill-effects like human and animal health hazards, ecological imbalance, development of resistance in the pests to pesticides, pests resurgence and environmental pollution, as well as, destruction of natural enemies (bio-control agents) of pests and increased level of pesticides residues in soil, water, food with the increased use of pesticides.
In order to minimize the use of  hazardous chemical pesticides up to the extent as possible and to prevent, manage the insect pests/diseases attack as well as to increase the crop productivity, Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Agriculture and Co-Operation (DAC) has launched a scheme “Strengthening and Modernization of Pest Management Approach in India” since 1991-92 by adopting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) as cardinal principle and main plank of plant protection strategy in overall crop production programme. Under the ambit of IPM
programme, the Govt. of India has
established 35 Central IPM Centers in 28 States and one UT.
Human resource development is widely regarded as the single most important resource for speedier popularization of latest technological developments in plant protection among the farmers. Training in plant protection gets wide support because of its critical role in human resource development. Formal training is needed to upgrade the professional competence of extension functionaries as training has a significant impact on the knowledge, ability and attitude of the staff. India faces a gigantic task of training plant protection extension functionaries in vast numbers at different levels with varying educational background and the large number of farmers. Substantial investment has been made and continues to be made to meet these needs. An extensive infrastructure has been set up and impressive achievements have been made in training extension functionaries at all levels as well as farmers. The National Plant Protection Training Institute (NPPTI), Hyderabad and the Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage, Faridabad are playing a leading role in training extension functionaries at the national level. The National Plant Protection Training Institute, Hyderabad provides the state of the art technical know-how on plant protection, the best that modern plant protection science has to offer. The institute has been recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations (UN). The research institutes, All India Coordinated Research Projects and National Research Centres of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Extension Education Institutes, and the Directorate of Extension of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the State Agricultural Universities, State Training Institutes, Extension Training  Centres, Gram Sevak Training Centres, Farmers Training Centres, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, Trainers Training Centres etc., provide training in plant protection to extension functionaries and the farmers. As a result the quantitative achievements with respect to number of training courses organized and the number of persons trained have been quite good. However, there is a need for qualitative improvement of training being imparted through systematic and pragmatic approach. Greater thrust is necessary on training in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in crops, pest risk analysis, retrieval and exchange of pest management information and utilization of computers etc. Further, there is a need for training of women, rural youth and weaker sections of the rural society. The active participation of Non-Governmental Organizations could contribute significantly in popularizing eco-friendly plant protection practices among farmers. The electronic and print media needs to be fully utilized for this purpose. Training faculties of institutions also require development by way of their training in specialized areas in other national and international institutions of repute. Farmers’ plant protection needs for increased crop productivity and production must get highest priority in training. No training intervention will ever have the desired result without whole hearted commitment of all concerned. It is obligatory that the organization, trainers and trainees review and renew their commitment to training as this is an essential condition to make training work better to meet emerging challenges in plant protection.
Many Govt. organizations, private companies and start-ups in the agriculture domain are working towards addressing the issues faced by Indian agriculture. Most of these efforts are directed towards addressing problems in parts. Also most of these efforts do not reach the last mile farmer. Considering these limitations, GoI has identified the major unmet-needs across the agri-value chain as mentioned below:
1.Need for Crop specific advisory and Farm management services
a.Increasing focus on improving quality and yield
b.Access to trained experts and modern farm equipment on demand
2. Demand for Free Marketplace to buy and sell farm products
a.Transparent price discovery mechanism
b.Direct access to end customer reducing intermediary steps
3.Need for higher adoption of digital technologies
a.Digital initiatives by the Govt. to expand infrastructure and connectivity of rural India 
b.Affordable smartphone and internet services
These needs could be addressed by providing end to end solutions through digitization/m-commerce/ ecommerce which not only creates a better reach with the farmers but also provides timely assistance on every aspect.  Some of the key initiatives by GOI are enumerated below:
*Soil Health Card Scheme
The GOI had initiated the ‘Soil Health card scheme’ in February 2015 which was aimed at improving soil health and reducing input costs for farmer. The Soil Health Card is a printed report to be given to farmers once in three years for each of their land holding. It will contain crucial information on macro nutrients in the soil, secondary nutrients, micro nutrients, and physical parameters. The card will be accompanied by an advisory on the
corrective measures that a farmer should take to improved soil health and obtain a better yield.The system envisages
building up a single national database on soil health for future use in research and planning. A total of 2.53 crore samples will be collected and tested to generate 14 crore Soil Health Cards to farmers once in three years.
*Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana has been launched by Government of India to support and promote organic farming and thereby improve soil health. This will encourage farmers to adopt eco-friendly concept of cultivation and reduce their dependence on fertilizers and agricultural chemicals to improve yields. Organic farming will be promoted by using traditional resources and the organic products will be linked with the market. It will increase domestic production and certification of organic produce by involving farmers. In order to implement the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana in Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana in the year 2015-16, an amount of Rs.300 crore had been allocated.
(To be continued)
(The Author is  Founder Director, Social Responsibility Council, New Delhi. e-mail : khurana@arunkhurana.com)