As part of effort to improve soil fertility in Nigeria, a Fertiliser Company, OCP Africa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Institute of Soil Science (NISS) to address soil challenges in the country. During the signing of the MOU in Abuja, the Country Manager of OCP Africa, Caleb Usoh said OCP will provide the financial support needed, while NISS will provide the needed technical support for the project. Usoh who was represented by the Production and Technical Manager of OCP Africa, Oluwatoba Asana said the average productivity per hectare on farmlands in Nigeria is very low, which is as a result of the soil condition.
He explained that there is food insecurity and poverty within the farming population due to poor productivity. “We know that average productivity per hectare of farmlands in Nigeria is very low and has been attributed mostly to soil conditions.
This invariably is one of the reasons for food insecurity and poverty within the farming population”, he said. According to him, “Problematic soils come in one or two of acidic or alkaline or saline Soils. They are soils in which plant root system does not grow normally due to toxic hydrogen ions, permeability of plant membranes is adversely affected due to low soil pH; enzyme actions may be altered since they are sensitive to pH fluctuations.
“However, this calls for a multidisciplinary approach (agronomy, breeding, nutrition and pedology) as it is required to breed specialized root system types which match the most urgent constraints of the different locations (most of all P deficiency, N deficiency, and aluminum toxicity). There is therefore a dire need to maintain good soil health for increased and sustained agricultural production. On his part, the Registrar of NISS, Professor Victor Chude said the project is aimed at addressing soil problem in the country and make them productive. “We are targeting acidic soils, saline soils, alkaline soil, there are other problematic soils like soils with very thick laterite soil, crops find it difficult to penetrate.