‘Develop national soil information system to avoid hunger’- Don warns FG

A professor of Soil Survey and Land Evaluation, Gabriel Akinboye Oluwatosin, has called on the federal government and other stakeholders to develop a national soil information system in the country.

Oluwatosin noted that this is necessary in order to ensure the production of nourishing food and prevent hunger in the country.

The don made these declarations while delivering the 377 inaugural lecture of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, titled “Soil in Food and National Security: Matter Arising.”

Some of the personalities at the event included the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Adebayo Banire, and the Executive Director of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Professor Veronica Obatolu.

Prof. Oluwatosin, while addressing the gathering, noted that the world faces a modern soil crisis and soil degradation.

He, however, said that a national soil information system is needed to ensure easy connectivity between scientists and land users, while stressing that food and national security are linked to the soil.

“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 capabilities. 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,” he said.

The don said further: “Mr Vice Chancellor, sir, I would like to make the following recommendations: Development of a national holistic soil information system 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; and developing a national account for soil in order to recognise the value that soil contributes to the financial and business sectors.”

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