December 6: A soil test conducted by the government has shown that only 45 per cent soil is fit for growing crops in Nepal. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development had conducted the test on the status of arable land soil across the country through digital mapping.
The results of the soil test were made public on the occasion of World Soil Day on Monday. The ministry had prepared the digital soil map to take stock of soil fertility, acidity, amount of organic matter in the soil and soil composition.
Former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had made public digital soil map two years ago.
According to the ministry, out of the total arable land in the country, around fifty per cent soil is acidic while 45 per cent is neutral. Five per cent soil is alkaline. Neutral soil is considered the best for cultivation.
Sample soil test from around the country revealed that organic matter is low in around 45 per cent of the soil while presence of such matter is medium in 45 per cent soil. Fifteen per cent soil has excessive organic matter. Organic matter functions as an important base of soil. Soil experts say that 3 to 5 per cent presence of organic matter is a must in the soil to be productive.
According to the ministry’s spokesperson Prakash Kumar Sanjel, quantity of micro nutrients necessary for crop and plants such as molybdenum, boron and zinc is marginal in Nepal’s soil.
“Low use of green fertilizer has harmed the fertility of soil in Nepal,” Sanjel said adding “The use of chemical fertilisers, haphazard use of pesticides, soil erosion, increasing soil pollution, rising use of agricultural tools for cultivation are responsible for damaging the health of soil in Nepal”.
The government’s Agriculture Development Strategy has set the target to increase organic matter in soil from 1.96 per cent to 4 per cent. Of the total arable land in Nepal, nitrogen level is low in 56 per cent soil, medium in 30 per cent and adequate in 14 per cent soil. Phosphorous level is relatively good. Of the total arable land, phosphorous level is low in 41 per cent soil, medium in 27 per cent and excessive in 31 per cent soil.
The level of potassium is rapidly declining in Nepal’s soil, the report shows. Potassiium level is low in 50 per cent soil, medium in 26 per cent and excessive in 24 per cent of the soil.