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Accurate assessment, mapping of salt affected soil to boost food production – Experts

Some agricultural experts call for accurate assessment, quantification and mapping of Salt Affected Soil, especially in irrigated areas to address growing challenge of soil salinity in the country.

By Felicia Imohimi

Some agricultural experts have called for accurate assessment, quantification and mapping of Salt Affected Soil, especially in irrigated areas to address the growing challenge of soil salinity in the country.

The experts made the suggestion during a forum tagged “Experts Dialogue”, organised by the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) to commemorate the World Soil Day (WSD), on Saturday in Abuja.

One of them, Prof. James Jayeoba, Dean Faculty of Agriculture, Nasarawa State University, Lafia, said urgent action should be taken to ascertain the extent of the problem and take measures to curtail it.

In a paper titled “Digital Modelling of Soil Salinity in Nigeria”, Jayeobi said productivity of agricultural lands must be improved and sustained in order to meet the demands of increasing world population.

“Salt affected soils are increasingly becoming widespread and threatening agricultural production in hitherto productive farmlands especially in irrigated areas,” he noted.

Similarly, Prof. Bashir Raji, President, Soil Science Society of Nigeria, identified soil salinity as a major threat to agricultural productivity not only in Nigeria, but across the world.

He called for collaboration among stakeholders to ensure that “our soils are properly managed in order to bequeath a healthy and productive soil to the next generation.

“The theme highlight the enormous role soil plays in attaining food security as well as raise awareness on the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystem and human well-being.

“This can be achieve by addressing the rising challenges in soil management, fighting soil salinisation, increasing soil awareness and encouraging governments, organisations, communities and individuals around the world to commit proactively in improving soil health,”

Earlier, Prof. Victor Chude, Registrar of NISS noted that WSD is marked annually on Dec. 5, to raise awareness on the importance of healthy soil and the need for sustainable management of soil resources.

The World Soil Day was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences in 2002 and supported by the Food and Agricultural Organisation.

The UN General Assembly responded by designating Dec. 5, 2014 as the first official World Soil Day.(NAN (www.nannews.ng)