By Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The Nigerian Institute of Soil Science (NISS), South East Zone, has trained farmers and extension workers in the zone on the use of soil test kits for effective fertilizer management to ensure the food security in Nigeria.
Prof. Charles Asadu, Area Coordinator of NISS South East, during the opening of the training workshop on Thursday in Nsukka, said that the Institute is a regulatory body, adding that the training was aimed at educating the farmers and extension workers on better soil management through the use of soil test kits.
According to him, “The NISS is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which has the mandate to regulate the soil science profession in Nigeria as well as to provide a scientific basis for improving and sustaining the productivity of soils. land resources with minimal environmental degradation, especially with regard to food production in the country.
“The objective of this training is to enable you to know the needs of the soil before planting, to know whether to lime, to apply fertilizers or not, to increase food production as well as to ensure the safety food and nutrition in Nigeria and also to achieve the targets set by the NISS,” he said.
Asadu, soil science teacher
whose office is domiciled at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) urged farmers and other land users in the Southeast to always consult their office for professional advice.
Prof. Victor Chude, the Registrar of NISS, in his message to workshop participants, said that the soil test kit is an innovation and an improved field test kit, invented for soil analysis as a basis for recommending site-specific fertilizers to achieve food security.
“The test kit contains a device that can be used together to analyze soil and provide results to farmers.
“Optimal fertilizer for the soil is very vital for maximum crop production, especially on farms where continuous cropping is the main practice as seen very often on Nigerian farms.
“Fertilizer application without proper soil testing could lead to plant nutrient imbalance, groundwater pollution, eutrophication of surface water bodies and economic losses for farmers,” he said. -he declares.
The Registrar reminded farmers and extension agents that they should organize phased training for farmers already identified in their states.
The participants who were drowned from the five states of the South East, representing different farmer organizations and who are to return to their different bases and train others were trained on the following topics;
know your soil and its functions, Soil management and conservation for effective fertilizer, Fertilizer-soil relationships, Mineral fertilizer recommendations for common crops grown in the Southeast and crop mixes, Soil analysis and its importance, and Demonstration on the use of Soil Testing Kits by Agents extension guided by Professor Asadu.
Five units of the soil test kits were distributed to participants for further distribution to their members.
One of the participants, Prof. Damian Azawaram from Abia State, in an interview with Daily Sun, thanks the NISS for organizing the training workshop for them, saying that the soil testing kits improve their agricultural activities in a more positive and productive way.