FG sets up two labs to boost agriculture



Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has commissioned two laboratories in the country.

This was disclosed on Monday in a statement obtained from the Facebook page of the ministry.

According to the statement the minister commissioned Soil Testing and Geographic Information System Laboratories in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

It said the laboratories are now four in number, all established by the ministry in Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan and Umudike, and are well equipped.

These are significant for sustainable agricultural production, because it will boost suitability and capability of lands for the sustainable production of different crops and land use, the statement explained.

It noted that the initiative is in line with the ministry’s mandate to promote technology-driven agriculture as contained in the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy

'Federal Government is committed to an Agriculture led the diversification of the nation’s economy. Therefore, for agriculture to play the expected role towards achieving this objective, the soil resources on which agriculture depends must also receive special attention for sustainable agricultural production.

'GIS and Soil Testing Laboratories is highly significant in our task of ensuring food security for the nation. These laboratories are necessary for the promotion of technology-driven agriculture which is the focus of the Ministry as contained in the National Agricultural Technology and Innovation Policy (NATIP),’ the statement read.

The facilities will be managed under the ministry’s department of agricultural land & climate change management service (ALCCMS).

Dr. Abubakar was quoted by the statement saying: 'Over the years, gaps have been identified in the way we manage our soils which are affecting fertilizer usage and land use planning in the country. The ministry is determined to bridge the gaps which were why the fourth National Soil Laboratory was established in Abuja.

'The ALCCMS department has been in the forefront of disseminating information and carrying out projects on effective and efficient management of our soil resources. The laboratories will further strengthen the capacity of the department in this respect.

'The Ministry now has four National Soil laboratories in Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan and Umudike each equipped with Mid-Infrared Spectrophotometer (MIR) for dry chemistry analytical procedures. The equipment has the capacity for analyzing large quantities of soil samples rapidly. The four laboratories will go a long way in expanding our soil testing capacity.’

He added that 'the GIS laboratory has the capacity to receive soil field data real-time for processing, analyses, and mapping, the GIS technology with its versatility will facilitate the production of soil fertility maps for different parts of the country. This will provide current information on the suitability and capability of lands for the production of different crops and land use.’

Speaking further, he said the ‘maps will provide information on crop and location-specific types of fertilizer for blending by our blenders to enhance agricultural productivity and stop the blind application of fertilizers in the country.’

The minister urged the department to embark on nationwide sensitization of farmers on the importance and benefits of soil testing in crop and livestock production because the declining yield per hectare of farmland is attributed to declining soil fertility.

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