THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a step that will give solace to at least one lakh farmers in the state, the Agriculture Department is all set to provide assistance to do away with the adverse effects of soil acidity.
Farmers will get assistance, under the Soil Health Management and Productivity Improved scheme, to apply soil ameliorants - a chemical that is applied to improve the quality of the soil and thereby improve plant growth - to reduce and gradually eliminate the negative effects of soil acidity which took a heavy toll on productivity for the past many years. The initiative is expected to benefit a minimum of one lakh farmers in select districts in the state.
The plan to give financial assistance to farmers for applying soil ameliorants was made based on the soil study conducted by the Agriculture Department. “The soil study found that acidity in soil has been a matter of huge concern for the farmers. Acidity was common in land across the state, only the severity differed,” Agriculture Director R Ajith Kumar said.
The scheme is being implemented at a cost of Rs 20 cr and financial aid for application of ameliorants will be Rs 2,400 per hectare.
“The initiative is for providing guidelines for something which the farmers are not familiar with. Once they get familiarised with it, they will continue it by themselves,” Ajith Kumar added.
The soil study found that acidity had been mostly affecting productivity of paddy, while the effect on other crops have become visible only gradually. Acidity also affects microorganisms in soil, which affects productivity. It reduces the ability of the crops to absorb nutrients, the study pointed out.
Ameliorants are applied to correct soil acidity and improve soil fertility status and thereby crop productivity; to supplement calcium and magnesium deficiencies in soil; to improve the intake of primary, secondary and micro-nutrients by the crops by improving soil health status and to sustain good soil health and improved agricultural practices.