Scientists call for support to produce soil nutrient map
Dr Edward Yeboah, President of the SSSG, who made the call, said the Russia-Ukraine war and its repercussions on the agricultural inputs supply chain, particularly in fertilizer supply, required strategic national specific measures to sustain fertilizer production.
Dr Yeboah, also the Director of the Soil Research Institute (SRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, made the call at a durbar to mark the 2022 World Soil Day at Kwadaso near Kumasi.
Currently, there is no primary production of inorganic fertilizers in the country. Fertilizers are imported in compounds and bulk.
The bulk fertilizers are blended into various formulations and distributed through a network of distributors and retail agro-dealers.
The blending of these fertilizers urgently required to be informed by the current soil analytical data on both macro and micronutrients levels to improve fertilizer use efficiency.
Dr Yeboah encouraged industry players to support the development of national soil maps, of which CSIR-SRI was leading in harmonising the existing soil maps of different institutions in the country.
This year’s celebration was on the theme: “Soils: Where Food Begins.”
It was to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by addressing growing challenges in soil management, increasing soil awareness and encouraging societies to improve soil health.
Soil needs a balanced and varied supply of nutrients in appropriate amounts to be healthy, Dr Yeboah said.
“Agricultural systems lose nutrients with each harvest, and if soils are not managed sustainably, fertility is progressively lost, and soils will produce nutrient-deficient plants,” he said.
Soil nutrient loss is a major degradation process threatening nutrition and recognised among the most critical problems of food security and sustainability around the globe.
The Reverend John Manu, Ashanti Regional Director, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said a key challenge to achieving balanced soil fertility was to find a sustainable role for fertilizers in plant production.
The overuse and misuse of fertilizers lead to nutrient excesses in agricultural fields and caused environmental problems, including deterioration of water quality and eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems, soil pollution and crop failure, among others.
He urged farmers to be agents of change by adopting good farm practices.