The Federal Government and other stakeholders have been implored to develop national soil information systems in order to enhance farming and agriculture in the country.
Gabriel Akinboye Oluwatosin, a Professor of Soil Survey and Land Evaluation, made the call while delivering the 377 inaugural lecture of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, titled: “Soil in Food and National Security: Matter Arising”.
Professor Gabriel explained that the development of such an initiative is necessary to ensure production of nourishing food and prevention of hunger in the country.
Some of the personalities at the event include the Vice Chancellor of OAU, Prof Banire, Director, IAR&T, Prof. Veronica Obatolu, former Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof Ogunkunle, and management staff of IAR&T.
According to Gabriel, the world faces a modern soil crisis and soil degradation.
He then recommended that a national soil information system is needed in order to ensure easy connectivity among scientists and land users.
Food and national security, he continued, are linked to the soil, stressing that Nigeria is running out of arable and grazing lands, warning that to avoid further degradation, land should be used in accordance with its capability.
He added: “Food and national security are intrinsically linked to the soil. Attempting to accommodate growing food demand through unsustainable intensification and management practices is degrading the soil and we are running out of arable and grazing lands.
“To avoid further degradation, land should be used in accordance with its capability. We must care for soil and take measures to maintain its capability and working conditions in order to restore what has been lost through regenerative agriculture.
“Mr. Vice Chancellor sir, I would like to make the following recommendations: Development of a national holistic soil information systems based on the genoform and capability systems for easy connectivity among scientists and land users.
“Nigeria needs semi-detailed digital soil maps for ease of planning and policy making.
“Development and reporting of a national soil capability system and a resolution that is effective across scales (farm, state and regional) to underpin account for soil.
“Adoption of elevation strategies and indicators of the continuum of soil condition in the form of a minimum data set, as well as soil management at local, spatial and temporal scales. Reporting the value of the soil asset through developing a statement of Nigeria’s natural capital.
“Developing a national account for soil in order to recognise the value that soil contributes to the financial and business sectors.”