K’taka mulls soil health centres at local bodies

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K’taka mulls soil health centres at local bodies
Bengaluru: Being the second largest arid state after Rajasthan in the country, Karnataka plans to set up soil health centres at local bodies (gram panchayats) to help farmers make optimal use of their land, an official said on Tuesday.

“State agriculture minister B.C. Patil has written to the Centre for support in setting up the soil health centres in 6,000 local bodies across the state under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture, which aims to promote soil health management and judicious use of fertilisers,” an agriculture department official told IANS here.

Though there are 250 soil health centres at zilla panchayats in districts across the state, similar centres in gram panchayats will help farmers test the soil of their farmland for nutrients to increase crop yield.

“The soil test, if conducted before sowing, will help farmers know the need for the right type of nutrients. If action is taken, it will result in better yield,” said the official.

The state agriculture department will also seek the help of the Central Food and Technology Research Institute (CFTRI) at Mysuru to train the farmers in food processing and packaging.

“The training will help farmers set up food processing units in their villages and double their income by value addition to their crop,” said the official.

The state proposes to convert vacant warehouses into cold storages for longer shelf life of perishable goods.

Patil recently petitioned Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar for central funds under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana to extend minor irrigation to increase cropping and enhance food production.

“We have identified 10 taluks/blocks for implementing pilot projects at a cost of Rs 5 crore per taluk (local body),” added the official.

The initiatives will support the farmers to increase sowing area for higher output.


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