Soil expert tasks food importers on research funding
• Hinges Importance Of Soil To Food Security
To solve the challenges of food and nutrition security, stakeholders in food production have called on the Federal Government to formulate policies that will make companies and individuals importing foods into Nigeria to contribute to research funding as part of ways to discourage food importation.
Professor of Soil Science, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUAU), Umudike, Abia State, Damian Asawalam, who said this, noted that it is imperative for the soil resources of the nation to be mapped and characterised at detailed level. He disclosed that the present soil map of the nation at a reconnaissance scale cannot help it to make the desired progress.
Delivering the 28th Inaugural lecture of the university, with the topic: “Stewardship Of Soil: Perspective Of A Soil Fertility Scientist,” the don held that agricultural policies that will positively influence food production and nutrition security must recognise the variability in soil resources of the nation up to farm level.
He said the nation stands to benefit immensely if Agricultural universities in the country are enabled to conduct their agricultural researches in farmers’ fields with the participation of the farmers.
Stating that accurate soil testing is essential for proper fertilizer use, nutrient management and soil water conservation, he recommended that agricultural institutions should upgrade the facilities and capacity of their soil laboratories to perform essential soil advisory services for the nation’s agricultural development.
According to Asawalam, “the maintenance of soil fertility in the tropics is a major agricultural challenge in soils characterised by low activity clays and inherently low in nutrient reserve.”
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