By Felicia Imohimi
Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN), has urged the Federal Government to accelerate clean-up of polluted sites across the country to ensure nutrition security and boost food production.
The society made the recommendation in a communiqué issued at the end of its annual conference organised in collaboration with the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science on Wednesday in Abuja.
The communiqué was signed by the SSSN President, Prof. Bashir Raji and Secretary, Prof. Peter Ogban.
The society expressed concern over the large scale devastation of agricultural lands due to oil spillage in the oil producing areas of Niger Delta region and the slow pace of remediation process.
It however assured of the willingness of the society to provide expertise and proven technologies in the quest of government to clean up the areas.
“The soil resources of Nigeria are currently under severe stress being continuously cultivated without adequate conservation and nutrient replacement measures resulting in soil physical, chemical and biological degradation.
“Government should as a matter of urgency develop a soil policy that include soil testing best management practices and site specific fertiliser recommendations.”
The society further observed that sustainable food and nutrition security were facing a serious threat in the country due to rising insecurity, kidnapping and increasing herdsmen and farmers clashes.
It added that frequent and increasing clashes between crop farmers and herdsmen were partly linked to poor land management, climate change phenomenon and desert encroachment.
The society however noted that urgent action was needed to arrest the rising insecurity and increasing cases of clashes between herdsmen and crop farmers.
According to the communiqué, there exists soil and land management technologies capable of enhancing the productivity of crops even on badly degraded lands and hostile physical environment.
“Soil Science Society of Nigeria is willing to partner with States and Federal Governments to revitalise the soil resources of the nation, improve their capacity to sustainably produce food and forage crops and thus stem the increasing conflicts between crop farmers and herdsmen in Nigeria.
“Government should take advantage of existing expertise of soil scientists and on-shelf technologies to facilitate the Green World initiative of government with the view to combating desertification and restore the vegetation in the northern fringes.
“Government should discourage the use of un-graded and un-branded agrochemicals (insecticides, herbicides and fertilisers).
“Government should ascent to the fertiliser bill already passed by the National Assembly to protect the farmers from exploitation, abuse and to save our soils, crops and citizens from health risks and hazards”.