Kadapa: Farmers are fretting over huge difficulties in getting soil tests done for their fields to grow compatible crops. The YSRC government is not only not offering them free of cost but has also turned soil test centres defunct in the district.
In the past, these tests were conducted free of cost by the government. The government would set targets for collection of soil samples before Kharif each year.
After coming to power, the YSRC has completely halted this policy. Not a single soil sample was collected anywhere by the government last year, except those taken by the farmers themselves and submitted to laboratories. Farmers have now lost that opportunity due to the government decision. Farmers have to pay Rs 300 per acre for availing soil tests.
Farmers need to know about the nutrient levels in their fields to take corrective steps before sowing. Crop yields depend on soil fertility. Depending on the test results, crops are selected and required nutrients are applied to the land. For this, there are four soil testing centers in the district. There are two centers in Vutukuru on the suburbs of Kadapa and one each in Proddatur and Rayachoti.
After the formation of the new government, the staff at the Proddatur and Rayachoti centers were transferred to another area. As a result, both the centers were closed. Electricity supply to two stations in Vutukuru was also cut off last March due to non-payment of bills by the government. As a result, the conduct of soil tests has stopped here as well. Unaware of this, farmers still take soil samples to the soil testing center in Vutukuru.
While some farmers approach the Agricultural Research Center in Kadapa to pay high fees for the tests, others return in frustration. In fact, the government has decided to set up mini-laboratories at Rythu Bharosa Kendrams (RBKs) and conduct soil tests. It also wants to train village agricultural assistants for this purpose. However, the proposal has not come to a pass due to Covid-19.