Enhancing Agricultural efficiency: Government promotes soil moisture indicators for water-smart farming

In a proactive move to address over-irrigation, the Department of Agriculture emphasises the significance of maintaining optimal soil moisture levels. Encouraging farmers to adopt the Soil Moisture Indicator (SMI) developed by ICAR, the initiative aims for improved yields and increased incomes. The SMI accurately assesses soil moisture, aiding farmers in avoiding issues like nutrient leaching, waterlogging, and heightened susceptibility to crop diseases. Nevil Alphonso, the Director of Agriculture in Goa, highlighted the prevalent issue of over-irrigation and the lack of awareness among farmers about its consequences.

 The government has implemented a subsidy scheme in the current financial year, allowing farmers to purchase the SMI at a 90% subsidised rate, priced at approximately Rs 1,700. A total of 492 farmers have already availed themselves of this opportunity. To broaden the scheme’s impact, the Agriculture Department utilises various platforms, including social media, to educate farmers on proper water usage and the adverse effects of excessive irrigation.

 Alphonso explained that the SMI features two metal sensor rods for measuring soil moisture. The device works by inserting these rods into the soil and activating the switch, with the electronic circuit translating soil resistance into a color-glowing light-emitting diode (LED). Blue indicates ample moisture, green signifies sufficient moisture, and yellow indicates low moisture levels.

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