National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSSLUP) is working on a project to map soil in 12 taluks of Karnataka to help provide plot-level data on soil condition, according to Rajendra Ramakrishna Hegde, Regional Director of NBSSLUP, Bengaluru.

Speaking on the sidelines of a training programme on ‘reclamation of problematic soil through aquaculture’, organised by the Krishi Vijnana Kendra in Mangaluru on Monday, he said that NBSSLUP is preparing ‘very fine scale’ plot-level data in 12 taluks of Karnataka under the World Bank-supported Sujala watershed development project.

Sujala is a World Bank-sponsored multi-disciplinary watershed development project in Karnataka. NBSSLUP is helping in the preparation of land resources inventory under the project.

Hegde said that the soil resource mapping in 12 taluks of Chamarajanagar, Davangere, Gadag, Koppal, Yadgir, Kalaburagi and Bidar districts is being done for this purpose.

Stating that at present the data available with regard to soil is at the coarse level, he said the soil resource mapping under Sujala will help it create ‘very fine scale data’ at the individual plot level. The condition of the soil can be known at the survey number level also.

The study, which was started in 2014, is likely to be completed by 2018.

Demand for soil data

He said the various initiatives of the Central government with regard to agriculture that includes soil health card, krishi sinchayi yojana, etc, have created the demand for soil data from NBSSLUP.

The Bengaluru centre of the bureau, which has jurisdiction over the southern India, has provided its data to 48 different governmental agencies following the implementation of these projects by the Centre.

Highlighting the need for improving the soil health in the country, he said that a study by the Bureau has found the increase in the level of sodic and alkali soil in the Cauvery command area in Mandya district of Karnataka. This has resulted in the decline in the yield of paddy in the region.

Water-intensive crops such paddy and sugarcane are being cultivated for over a century in the region, and this is one of the reasons for the increase in the level of sodic and alkali soil in the region, he said.