Volume VIII |

Soil Quality Cards for Participatory Soil Quality Assessment in Organic and Smallholder Agriculture

Abstract: Healthy soil is the basis of high quality food production. Increased awareness toward safe and healthy environment further aggravated the significance of soil quality evaluation and adoption of rational management practices. Evaluation of soil quality is crucial but expensive task for organic growers and smallholder agriculture. Participatory approach in soil quality assessment, thus, can serve the purpose of soil quality assurance for quality production. Physical, chemical and biological soil quality parameters are identified through participatory discussion and they are integrated in a way familiar to farmers. Farmers evaluate their farm soils based on their existing knowledge, agro-ecological condition and farming system of the area. This approach bridges farmers’ ideas with scientific facts with minimum financial investment. Initiatives have already been taken in this line, however, strengthening and institutionalization of the process is needed to replicate this practical technique. Preliminary work in Baccheuli, Chitwan, Nepal indicated the approach as practical, easy, cost effective and convincing to farmers. Moreover, this enhanced confidence to farmers of their soil quality and supported for further strengthening of organic and smallholder agriculture in Nepal.