People associated or long associated with Agriculture farming may declare that they are well conversant on every aspect of crop production including soil health or otherwise fertility level of the crop field.
In certain extent, of course farmer can feel the field or at least what is happening based on the experience of previous crops and its productivity.
However, it is only assumption / presumption that farmers can predict that their crop field is deficient of certain soil nutrients so is less production or productivity of the given crop in the given season.
Needless to say that success of a farmer in the pursuit to better crop production largely depends on good soil condition or other wise soil fertility status. Good soils along with other biotic and a-biotic factor are the prerequisites for a good crop and economic prosperity of farmers.
But, the aspect of soil test for soil fertility analysis has never been a topic that has largely been discussed by the stake holder. In Tripura, soil fertility analysis is one such subject that has never been taken care off by the farming communities. Reason of such situation is not reported or at least, it is not tried as to why this spate of condition prevails amongst the farming communities.
At present, the concept of soil test is restricted only within the departmental booklet/leaflets illustrating its importance on crop production and dos and don’t etc. but as far as field level implementation; there is wide gap between the concept and field level adoption by the farming communities of the state.
Reality is; soil test through which a farmer can get comprehensive data or report of his / her soil’s nutrient condition has never been done by the farmer. For that matter, the state extension mechanism has some thing do and answer for.
The concept of soil test is not new one; it is in fact one of the oldest concept that existed since the mankind ever felt the need for supply of external nutrient supplements to the nutrients deficient soil but this age old concept is yet to be realized by the farming communities of the state.
In last twenty years(Since, 1985 to 2011) some observation in particular area of south Tripura district viz; Kakraban, Mirza and Tulamura (now Gomti) reflects that there was no report for slightest moment for “soil test” for finding out the soil nutrient status by the faming communities on their own. This type of knowledge stagnation in the farming sector will not result any good thing.
Of course, there are several interventions in the form of new scheme and new techniques that have been tried and pursued to reach to the farming communities by the state department but one of the crucial aspects that is soil test has never come to the forefront of crop production.
The department of agriculture should seriously pursue the matter for spreading the concept through awareness campaign amongst the farmers. Unless, our farmers realize the very importance of soil test for better crop production then the whole persuasion for sufficient production will never materialize.
Farmers should have the knowledge of detail soil nutrients status before taking up the crop production, farmers should have ability to take decision based on the fertility level of the soil and they should know the process of restoring the soil health through the comprehensive test data obtained from the soil test.
The time has come to arrange for state wide awareness campaign on soil test and its importance in the crop production. The state department of agriculture being the concerned department may devise a scheme for reaching the farming communities in spreading this important aspect to the very farming communities of the state otherwise, the whole campaign for self reliant would remain in the stagnant condition.