The Federal Government has said that it planned to upgrade four national soil and water laboratories in the country, to the standard of the International Center for Research in Agro Forestry (ICRAF).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the four national soil and water laboratories to be upgraded are located in Ibadan, Umudike, Kaduna and Abuja.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono disclosed this at the opening of the National workshop on soil survey and soil fertility mapping, on Tuesday, in Abuja.
The theme of the workshop was “Enhancing food security in Nigeria through the production of detailed soil survey and soil fertility maps.”
Nanono, who was represented by Dr Ernest Umakhihe, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said the laboratories would be used to conduct soil tests and analysis from the national survey.
While noting that the laboratories were equipped with modern spectra laboratory equipment (MIR), he said the upgrade would ensure that the data generated from the national survey would be accepted internationally.
He said from the knowledge of the conditions and trends, Nigerian soils were fragmented, and thus the need to have up-to-date spatially-referenced soil information, to support the country’s agricultural productivity.
In his remarks, the Surveyor-General of the Federation, Mr Samuel Taiwo, described the workshop theme as apt.
Taiwo, who was represented by Mr Ahmad Ajingi, said the use of geospatial information remained crucial and inevitable to effectively carry out soil survey and fertility mapping.
He noted that surveying and mapping were veritable activities aimed at achieving any form of planning and implementation.
“National soil survey and fertility mapping of Nigeria is a step in the right direction. It is a panacea to the array of factors responsible for low crop yield and poor implementation of the National Food Security Programme,” he said.
Also, the Senior Programme Officer of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Audu Grema, said the foundation was at the workshop as technical partners to the programme.
In his message, Rep. Dandutse Muntari, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture Production and Services, expressed the readiness of the National Assembly to support soil mapping in the country.
Earlier, Prof. Ayo Ogunkunle, in a paper he presented entitled; “Enhancing Food Security in Nigeria Through Detailed Soil Survey and Soil Fertility Maps”, stressed the need for a soil survey or map.
According to him, it provides the ability to predict soil characteristics on landscapes more accurately than the existing semi-detailed soil survey.