Distribution of soil health cards among farmers in Telangana began on Tuesday under a combination of government and corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects.
The initiative is expected to make farming profitable.
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) coordinated the soil testing down to individual farm level identified by the Geographic Information System(GIS) coordinates and including micronutrients.
The farmers were trained on collecting their own soil samples. Soil nutrient deficiencies were then identified in ICRISAT laboratories and fertilizer recommendations given separately for 16 different crops, ranging from paddy to millets, for individual farmers, said a statement by ICRISAT.
Following these recommendations, farmers can save money by not over fertilizing as well as maximizing yields.
A total of 79 farmers in Naganpally village received their soil health cards and individual fertilizer recommendations.
The next steps will be to conduct on-farm trials to show the yield gains and net profits.
This was part of the CSR of Ramoji Foundation in two villages. Other villages have been helped through CSR of SABMiller (10 villages) and Asian Paints (6 villages), and through the Medak Collector (20 villages).
Karnataka is the first state to have achieved soil micronutrient mapping at farm level across the whole state. This was published in a Soil Fertility Atlas by the Karnataka government and ICRISAT five years ago. It is currently the only Indian state to have achieved this.
"Soil heath cards are one key step in a holistic approach. ICRISAT has a strong belief in a holistic approach, as any one intervention will only deliver its full advantage when all part of the value chain are also developed.
"Typically this includes watershed management, access to seeds of improved crop varieties, integration with livestock, on-farm practices including water use efficiency, links to markets, processing and agribusiness," said Suhas P. Wani, Director ICRISAT Development Centre.