World Soil Museum in Wageningen, Netherlands
The state is planning to set up a unique soil museum, a first in the country, to showcase its rich soil and mineral resources, and also to promote awareness about conservation and protection of ecology.
Of the 11 major soil categories in the world classified by the US-based department of agriculture soil classification system, Kerala is endowed with nine types, ranging from black alkaline soil to extreme acidic soil found in 999 panchayats across the state. The planned museum at Parothukonam here will have a huge collection of soil monoliths, intended to provide information on soil types and crops suitable to each type.
“The museum will also have a mini theatre where documentaries related to soil conservation and protection will be screened daily. This will help research scholars, school students, farmers and nature lovers,” Dr P N Premachandran, director of soil survey and soil conservation department, said. Experts said the state has unique soil patterns suitable for paddy and horticulture cultivation. “The black cotton soil in Palakkad is ideal for vegetable cultivation and gives high yield. Similarly, the marshy soil where Pokkali paddy cultivation is done has rich micro-nutrients and farmers need not add additional fertilizers,” Premachandran said. Experts said famers in the state lacked first-hand information on the nature of soil and hence, use excess fertilizers, resulting in low yields and incurring huge expenses.
A recent study by the department of agriculture revealed that 88% of the soil is acidic, lacking many micro-nutrients essential for a good yield. The study on 1.10 lakh soil samples taken from 14 districts in Kerala, showed a deficiency of magnesium, boron and calcium. “Around 80% soil samples had magnesium deficiency, 70% had boron deficiency and 50% had calcium deficiency,” the official said.
Dr K M Nair, principal scientist, Bangalore Regional Center for Soil Bureau, said that nutrients like boron are not present in a majority of the soil samples because of incessant rains which washes away many minerals. “We need to now make specific micro-nutrient management plan for each blocks and panchayats in the state to get optimum yields,” he said.
News Sourced from “The Times of India”