Land degradation could threaten Africa’s development – Professor Abaidoo

arid-landProfessor Robert Clement Abaidoo, a Soil Scientist, has expressed worry about the growing land degradation in Africa and warned this could threaten its development.

He said it is estimated that about 70 per cent of the continent’s productive land area is now degraded.

Prof Abaidoo, Provost of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), said “the scary part though is that our current exploitation of land resources suggests that 100 per cent out of this productive resources is prone to degradation”.

He was giving a professorial inaugural lecture at the University in Kumasi on Wednesday.

His topic was “Soil is not just dirt; its life sustains human existence on earth”.

The programme allows faculty members to share their research findings with other members of the academia and policy-makers to help engender socio-economic and industrial development.

Prof Abaidoo said it was imperative for governments and all stakeholders to work jointly to promote the adoption of best practices that built-up soil carbon at rates greater than its depletion “to restore optimum microbial community structure and functioning”.

Plant breeders, he said, must not focus only on human nutrition and productivity, but also improvement of the soil, leading to the production of high quality food.

In addition, soil scientists must be resourced to develop climate-friendly soil management and agricultural technologies to address the loss of biodiversity.

Prof Abaidoo said soil was relevant to the sustenance of life, the environment, security, climate and water.

He said the soil that is unable to hold water, for instance, would effectively cause substantial waste and also be linked to the high incidence of floods, rising sea levels and environmental degradation.

He said there was a strong connection between the high rate of poverty on the continent and poor environmental practices and appealed that more should be done to deal with the situation.

Prof William Otoo Ellis, Vice-Chancellor of the KNUST, said the lectures would bring to the fore challenges inhibiting the development of the society for solution.

Source: GNA

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