BY CHIBUZOR EMEJOR.
Registrar, Nigerian Institute of Soil Science, Prof. Victor Chude, has warned that Nigeria’s quest for food security would remain a mirage, unless the present application of fertilizer to crops is changed.
Chude who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja at the maiden Summit organised by Agriculture Correspondents Association of Nigeria [ACAN], lamented that there has been low crop yields and productivity as a result of the use of conventional, blanket fertilizers which more often than not, is NPK 15:15: 15 fertilizer.
He explained that NPK fertilizer is not suitable for all soils, adding that the present trend where the same fertilizer supplied to farmers was counter-productive.
Chude, who the immediate past President of Soil Science Society of Nigeria, therefore, called on the relevant government institutions to carry out soil testing and mapping before fertilizers are given to farmers.
According to him, “Soil is the cradle of civilisation. It supports life and soil is life.
“Any nation that refuses to manage soil well will definitely go underground with time. We need a lot of resources to make it productive.
“For a long time, farmers have been using conventional, blanket fertilizers NPK 15: 15: 15 or NPK 20: 10: 10.
“You notice that for the past four decades, the yield of crops has not appreciated so much. No wonder, our farmers have remained in poverty. This is because our soil has not been taken care of.
“It is not true that NPK 15:15:15 fertilizer is good for all crops. It is not also true that NPK: 20:10:10 can be used anywhere in this country.
The professor of soil science however acknowledged that present administration has been working assiduously to correct the anomaly in the fertilizer application, which necessitated the establishment of Nigerian Institute of Sol Science recently by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
To this end, Chude called for the use of targeted fertilizers by farmers to guarantee increased productivity, after soil mapping must have been carried out.
According to him, “if we continue with what we are doing now, quote me, that is, using one type of fertilizer for all parts of the country, we will continue to have low yields and we cannot achieve food security.
“We will only be destroying the soil because our soil already has potassium.”