As a measure of achieving food security in Nigeria through crop production, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has concluded plans to begin a ntionwide survey and soil fertility mapping.
According to the Ministry, the programme was part of its strategy to ensure sustainable utilisation of the nation’s land resources and a drive towards attaining food self-sufficiency in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, who represented the minister at the opening session of a workshop with the theme: ” Enhancing Food Security in Nigeria through the Production of Detailed Soil Survey and Soil Fertility Maps” held in Abuja, said the country needs to revisit the quality of the farmlands.
He observed that the last time Nigeria carried out Soil inventorisation was in the 1980s at a reconnaissance level using a scale of 1.650,000 which has been obsolete and inexpedient for the much desired rapid Agricultural transformation.
Umakhihe said: “We have realised that over time that the country needs detailed soil survey and soil fertility maps that are necessary if we are to understand the best ways of evaluating the potential of our soils for agricultural production.”
Speaking further, he added that maps generated from such survey will be of immense benefits to farming communities, land-use planners and also serve as a road map for Nigeria Soil Information System (NSIS).
The Permanent Secretary said the workshop is expected to focus on current Methodologies in digital soil mapping used in the production of detailed soil survey and Soil Fertility maps.
He said the workshop is also expected to assist farmers so that they can obtain basic information on soil Fertility status that is required to inform the decisions on the type and rate of fertilizer application to be applied in addition to the method and time of application.
He also disclosed that the ministry will focus on the promotion of site-specific fertilizer application techniques and blending of crop-specific inorganic fertilizer materials which require detailed soil and soil fertility maps to actualise the goal.
Recall that experts in the agricultural sector have lamented that desert encroachment, erosion, and general climate change could pose huge challenges to bountiful production for local consumption and export.