Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Now, post offices make testing soil easy for farmers

In a bid to make soil testing service accessible to farmers, department of post, Pune region, has launched a pilot initiative on Friday named Kisan Vigyan Doot (KVD) where farmers can submit their soil samples at the nearest post offices. The samples will be tested at the agencies and a report will be sent.

The project, announced at the postmaster general's office, is a facility spearheaded by the postal department in collaboration with Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Baramati. Sumitha Ayodhya, director of postal services, Pune region, told Mirror, "This is a first-of-itskind initiative that has been introduced in the state. Most farmers are either unaware of the importance of soil testing or the agencies are inaccessible to them, which leads to unsuitable cropping and eventually financial loss."

Pune region is spread over four districts — Pune, Satara, Solapur and Ahmednagar — consisting of 2,161 branches that operate in rural areas. "The rural post offices can collect soil samples from farmers and send it to the KVKs. India Post will act as the farmers' messenger with KVKs offering a perfect blend of its services. In the pilot stage, this initiative will be implemented at the branch offices of Pune Mofussil (MFL) division," said F B Sayyed, assistant postmaster general, Pune region.

Vivek Bhoite, subject matter specialist of soil testing, KVK, Baramati, stated that increasing urbanisation has weakened soil health. "Most of the farmers are unaware about soil health thus the fertility has worsened. Farmers have approached us for tests from Pune, Phaltan in Satara district, Ahmednagar, Solapur and Bhor tehsil. Currently, the entire process of submitting the samples to obtaining the results takes nearly eight days. With the implementation of the project, the time taken for the tests will reduce considerably," he said.

Farmers are also happy with the initiative undertaken by the postal department. Shyam Sunder Jaigude, a farmer from Bhor tehsil, said, "If this project works, it will benefit those who are forced to neglect their lands while the tests are being conducted."

KVK in Baramati is a Farm Science Centre at the district level that was established in August 1992 under the affiliation of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi .

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