By Ikechukwu Odu
The Nigeria Institute of Soil Science, NISS, South East Zone, on Thursday, trained Extension Agents, Agricultural Officers and farmers drawn from the five states in zone on the use of testing kits for efficient fertilizer management.

The Registrar of NISS, Prof. Victor Chude, in a message during the train the trainer workshop at the Discovery Suite in Udenu Local Government Area of Enugu State, explained that optimum soil fertility is vital for maximum production of crops.

The don outlined major problems affecting crop production to include soil compaction, erosion, acidity and soil nutrient decline, stressing that fertilizer application should never be done without proper soil testing as soils vary in nutrient contents.

He also said that fertilizer application without proper soil testing could lead to nutrient imbalance in plants, polution of ground water, eutrophication of the surface water bodies and economic losses to farmers.

He equally explained that soil test kit is an innovative and improved field test kit invented for soil analysis as a basis for site specific fertilizer recommendation towards achieving food security.

Earlier, while flagging off the workshop, the South East Coordinator of NISS Prof. Charles Asadu, explained that the training has become expedient to enable farmers know their soils before planting, and to know whether to apply fertilizer on their crops or not.

He also said that the workshop was geared towards increasing food production and ensuring food and nutrient security in Nigeria.

Abia State representative of NISS, Prof. Damian Asawalam, who spoke on the subtopic ‘Fertilizer-Soil Relationship,’ explained that nutrients removed from the soil by crops, leaching, erosion or immobilized by micro-organisms should be replaced to ensure optimum crop production.

He also said that one of the most important prerequisites for formulating a sound fertilizer recommendation for a given crop in a given area is the knowledge of the nutrient status of the soil which according to him, is realizable only through a rational and systematic evaluation of soil fertility.

Some of the participants who spoke to Vanguard expressed satisfaction with the workshop, adding that they would transfer their knowledge to farmers in their respective states.
The highlight of the workshop was the distribution of Agricultural kits to the participants by NISS personnel.

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