Celebration of World Soil Health Day

ICAR-Central Institute for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar celebrated World Soil Health Day on 5th December, 2019 at village Kharibili of Niali Block, Cuttack District, Odisha where farmers are mostly involved in production of pulses like green gram, Black Gram, Arhar, Lathyrus, Horse Gram contributing for maintenance of soil health. Celebration of World Soil Health Day in this villages was a true recognition for their endeavour in keeping the soil alive over generations. It also motivated other farmers and farmwomen of the locality. The celebration was made under Mera Gaon, Mera Gaurav programme team II. In this programme more than 100 farm women participated. Mr Ramakanta Mohapatra, Ex- Sarpanch, Eranch Panchayat graced the programme as chief guest and emphasized on the importance of soil health and role of farmwomen in taking care of it. He also motivated the community for compost making as most of the villagers have livestock. He requested the gathering to take initiatives for integrated nutrient management. Dr Anil Kumar, Principal Scientist (LPM) and leader of ICAR-CIWA, MGMG II explained the gathering to cultivate hybrid napier grass in the derelict lands for soil conservation and more nutrition for the livestock. He also surveyed the livestock resources of the village for this purpose. Dr Sabita Mishra, Principal Scientist and member of MGMG Team II mobilized the farm women through innovative extension approaches for conservation of soil. Dr Laxmipriya Sahoo, seniolr Scientist and nodal officer for World Soil Day celebration, answered the gathering's queries on soil and farm and explained the remedial measures to recover less fertile soils. Sri Debendra Nath Sadangi, Technical Officer, Sri Manoranjan Prusty, Technical Officer and Ms Usharani Maradona, Technical Assistant managed the programme and explained the farmwomen on different aspects of pulse farming, Horticulture and fodder cultivation.
Demonstration of seed treatment with Rhizobium was given by the team through a deliberation. The farmwomen were explained that if the seeds were treated before planting, then lesser amount of fertilizer as well as insecticides will be required at later stages. This will result in conserving the health of soil. The team insisted on usage of mechanical weeding instead of chemical which will not only reduce the permeation of poisonous weedicide and insecticides in the soil but also will incorporate the weed residues in the soil thus enhancing the quality of soil. Farmers were also encouraged to follow crop rotation to ensure conservation of soil nutrients. They were exposed to the concept of conservation tillage insisting on importance for reduction of soil erosion.
Various central government sponsored soil health schemes was also explained to them for their awareness. The farmers who did not have soil health card were encouraged to avail the facility and the method for the same were explained. Farmer Scientist Interface was also organized wherein different aspects of soil health were discussed in detail and the ICAR-CIWA team answered the questions raised by the farm women regarding maintenance of soil health and general crop production practices. The programme enlightened the farmwomen on soil health and the experts could understand the practical problems of soil in villages.
The interaction proved fruitful as discussions in a single platform could open options for addressing issues of soil. The celebration was highly successful in exchange of knowledge, awareness generation and enhancing women participation for the cause of soil health.