On the 24th of January, 2017, seasoned scientists gathered from the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria to reposition soil research. The Communiqué of the meeting is as follows:
COMMUNIQUE OF THE INAUGURAL MEETING OF REGIONAL COORDINATORS FOR SOIL RESEARCH IN NIGERIA,HELD AT THE INSTITUTE OF AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND TRAINING (IAR&T), IBADAN, FROM 24TH – 25TH JANUARY, 2017.
The inaugural meeting of regional coordinators for soil research from the six geopolitical zones (North-east, North-central, North-west, South-west, South-south, South-east) in Nigeria was held at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) with the theme Repositioning Soil Research for Agricultural Transformation in Nigeria. The Executive Director of Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Professor J.A. Adediran, in his welcome address gave a background to soil research in Nigeria including past and current research activities of the IAR&T. He furtherpresented the terms of reference to assist the regional coordinators in the performance of their duties in the zones as follows:
- To raise a team of Soil Scientists in the regions that cuts across all disciplines ofSoil Science.
- To identify problems, challenges and environmental issues in soil research in their regions with the aim of ensuring sustainable land use.
- To coordinate soil research activities for agricultural transformation in the regions.
- To collaborate in planning and executing soil research programmes in Nigeria.
A total of 18 participants, including scientists and representatives of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)/Agricultural Land and Climate Change Management Services (ALCCMS) attended the two-day meeting.
Observations: Based on presentations made from the regions and IAR&T, it is observed that a great deal of soil research work has been carried out and yet agricultural production remains low, negating the desire for increased food production and security. The reasons for the above mentioned trend are as follows:
- Soil erosion/desertification, degradation, and fertility loss are common across the regions and consequently low agricultural production in Nigeria.
- There is little or no soil research coordination within and across the zones.
- Lack of integration of soil research in Nigeria agricultural programmes and therefore no synergy between the policy makers and researchers.
- There is inadequate soil legacy databank and geo-referenced information systems in and across the regions.
- Dearth of semi-detailed/detailed soil maps, and national soil classification/correlation systems, which constitute basic tools for the planning and development of the nation’s soil resources.
- Laboratories are poorly equipped, staffed, lack quality control leading to poor outputs.
Resolutions: After intensive deliberations on the presentations on repositioning soil research which aims at promoting sustainable use of soil resources to transform agriculture in Nigeria, it was resolved as follows:
- That there is the need for proper coordination of soil research at the regional and national levels.
- Regular meetings of Regional Coordinators for updated information on their activities to be included as part of the work plan of the Land and Water Resources Management Programme of the IAR&T.
- An organogramme which includes Soil Research Consultative Group, Technical Advisory Committee, Regional Coordinators, and Regional Working Groups to enhance the coordination of soil research in Nigeria has been established.
- There is need to collate and archive soil research information existing in the regions for information sharing.
- The National Soil Correlation Committee should be resuscitated.
- Need for collaboration among policy makers, scientists, and other stakeholders in the utilization and management of the soil resources of the nation.
- Need for capacity building of scientists, laboratory technologists and technicians for quality control and assurance.
Appreciation: The Meeting appreciates the Executive Director, IAR&T for hosting the deliberations, the Director Federal Department of Agriculture and Land Resources, and the Coordinator West Africa Soil Health Consortia, for attending and contributing to the deliberations.
- Peter I.Ogban Chairman
- O.J. Jayeoba
- A.M. Sanmdi
- A.M. Hassan
- I.N. Onyekwere
- Dr. (Mrs.) O.D. Adeyolanu Secretary