Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there is a need to adopt new scientific methods to boost agricultural production in the country.
The agricultural production can be transformed with the use of new scientific methods, he said while launching the ‘Soil Health Card’ (SHC) scheme in Suratgarh, situated over 300 km from Jaipur.
The SHC scheme will help farmers to know the quality of soil and appropriate usage of fertilisers.
Highlighting the importance of soil-testing, Modi said that “it can help farmers to know what exactly is the problem in their land and how it can be sorted out”.
“The health of soil needs to be assessed at regular intervals so that farmers add required nutrients to the soil. You (farmers) can have bumper production only if land is fertile,” the prime minister said.
He called upon farmers to go for soil-testing at least once a year. “Soil-testing can help each farmer to save at least Rs.50,000 per year,” Modi said.
He urged the state government to use school laboratories for soil-testing during vacations and teach students about the testing methods.
In his speech, Modi also coined a slogan: “Swasth Dharaa, Khet Haraa” (healthy earth, green farm).
The prime minister also asked other states to set up expert committees on agriculture.
Highlighting the importance of saving water, Modi said: “It is essential to use water judiciously and not to waste even a drop. Excess and scarcity of water, both are dangerous, and therefore the key to good agriculture is make good use of water…per drop, more crop.”
Modi, while quoting Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, said: “If only one percent water is available in the state, then we will have to explore ways for availability of water. We cannot keep the state thirsty.”
Modi said there was a time when Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were known as bimaru (sick) states. “However, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan modernised the irrigation system in the state and was awarded for agricultural production. The state is now out of bimaru category,” he said.
“I am fully confident that the present Rajasthan government and the central government will be able to take Rajasthan out of this bimaru category,” he said.
Raje in her speech attacked the previous Congress government for poor infrastructure in the state and the financial mess that the state is facing, especially the power companies.
“We promise to bring you out of these problems,” the chief minister said.
Raje said out of 40,000 villages, 20,000 are fluoride affected. Two-thirds of the state’s area falls in the dark zone. “However, we are the leading state in olive cultivation in the country. Progress is also being made in date cultivation,” she said.
The prime minister also presented the Krishi Karman Awards to state government functionaries.