Minister wants donor agencies’ support on digital soil fertility maps

March 16, 2021
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Minister wants donor agencies’ support on digital soil fertility maps

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The Federal Government has appealed for support from development partners and donor agencies for Nigerian surveyors in conducting nationwide soil surveys.

It also wants the partners such as Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation USAID and others to support the surveyors in the production of digital soil fertility maps for the country.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, made the call at the opening of the National workshop on soil survey and soil fertility mapping on Tuesday in Abuja.

He said the workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as one of the activities preceding the commencement of nationwide soil survey and soil fertility mapping.

Nanono was represented by Dr Ernest Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The theme of the workshop is “Enhancing food security in Nigeria through the production of detailed soil survey and soil fertility maps.”

“I call on our development partners and donor agencies that include, FAO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IFDC, OCP Africa and USAID to provide technical assistance and support to Nigerian’s surveyors and other professionals in order to facilitate the process of conducting nationwide soil survey and production of digital soil fertility maps for the country”.

The minister said that it is important “that we continue to build synergy in the nation’s agricultural sector so that we can fast- track the attainment of the much desired food security for our teeming population.

“We need to do away with the hitherto blanket approach to fertilizer application across locations with widely differing soil boundaries; a situation that has resulted in extensive soil degradation in different parts of the country.

“We definitely have to improve on our soil management practice for the benefit of our farmers and enhancement of Nigeria’s food security,” he said.

The minister said the theme of the programme was carefully chosen to reflect the significance of a comprehensive soil information database ” in our drive towards attaining food self-sufficiency”.

He said that through the workshop, the ministry hopes to define a road map for Nigeria Soil Information System (NISIS).

“We have realised over time that the country needs detailed soil surveys and soil fertility maps that are necessary if we are to understand the best ways of evaluating the potentials of our souls for agricultural production.

“Maps are generated from such surveys and will be of immense benefit to our farming communities and planners.

“Soil surveys are of high priority in the development plans of many countries, because of the obvious advantages of soil classification and mapping in making land management decisions.

“A soil map has little value unless the information in it is used in farming and other land use planning activities, therefore, the soil maps that will result from the proposed survey must serve practical purpose,” he said.

“The focus of the ministry is the promotion of site – specific fertilizer application techniques and blending of crop specific inorganic fertilizer materials.

“Detailed soil survey and soil fertility maps will be required to actualize this goal,” he said.

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