The Soil Science Society of Nigeria, SSSN, says improper care and maintenance of the soil can hinder its optimum support to crop and animal production.
The President of the society, Prof. Victor Chudi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
Chudi said most infertile soils were as a result of abuse and mismanagement, describing soil as a living entity.
“Civilisations that have gone underground did so because they didn’t pay attention to their soil. They neglected their soils, they abused their soils so much that the soils become infertile, they could no longer support production of crops, even animals eat produce from the soil.
“Soil is a living entity; it has microorganisms in them and they hold nutrients that support, apart from anchoring plants, they also supply nutrients that nurture plants that produce fruits that we eat.
“If the nutrient in the soil is not monitored, you don’t have an idea of what it is, you will just be gambling.
“And if you think you can just apply fertiliser, when you under fertilise the soil, you cause soil degradation, and when under fertile, the plants will extract everything that is there and then go look for extracts and then they deplete (the soil).
“If you don’t fertilise at all and the nutrient is low, they will not support, if you fertilise and you over fertilise, you will create contamination in the soil that may affect the growth of the plant.
‘’The soil will not support production, and when it is over fertilised, it causes contaminations in the soil that may affect the growth of a plant.’’
Chudi stressed on the need to carry out diagnosis on the soil to ensure proper maintenance, stating that soil could only be very productive when regular soil analysis were carried out.
According to him, when this is done, plants will grow very well and the environment will not be polluted.
He said that a lot of farmers don’t carry out analysis on the soil before cultivation due to the cost implication involved.
“A lot of farmers see paying for the cost of analysis as an additional cost after paying for fertiliser and seeds,’’ the professor said.
Chudi said government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with the University of Colombia had procured about 100 soil doctor kits to support farmers.
“This is the first phase, it would be expanded and we are hoping that when the new administration comes in, this is a project they will want to scale up because of the direct benefit to the farmers,’’ he said.
He said the kits contained all necessary equipment for testing the soil and making recommendations, and `real time’ at no cost to the farmer.

READ ALSO  Britain guarantees BREXIT will not affect relations with Nigeria