The 42nd Annual Conference of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria was held at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Obafemi Awolowo University, Moor Plantation, Ibadan, Oyo State, from 12th to 16th March, 2018. The theme of the Conference was Sustainable Management of Soil and Water Resources for Food Security, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.
The opening ceremony took place at Prof. E. A. Adebowale Training Hall of the Institute and; was chaired by Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, the Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, and who is also the Chairman, Governing Board of IAR&T. Dignitaries who attended the occasion included the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Isiaq Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by Professor Olusegun Adekunle; the Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode who was represented by Dr. Olayiwole Onasanya; the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbe, who was represented by Mr. Ogunwale J. Adeniyi, South-west Regional Director; the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Professor Felix K. Salako; the Vice-Chancellor, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Professor Ibrahim Saminu Abdulrahman; and the Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna (FUT-Minna), Professor Abdulahi Bala, who was represented by Professor A. O. Osunde. Others were MD, Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd, Dr. Balbir Singh; MD OCP Nigeria, Dr. Babasola Ajiboye; Director, Agricultural Land and Climate Change Management, Engr. S. O. Edibo, who was represented by Mr. Abimbola, and FAO Nigeria represented by Ms. Tonia Umeh. In his address, the Chief Host and Vice-Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede welcomed members of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria and expressed delight that IAR&T hosted the 2018 annual conference. The President of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria, Prof. V.O Chude highlighted the achievements of the society over the past year, which included the Act establishing the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) and emphasized that agricultural crop production could be increased greatly if fertilizer development would be site and crop based.
The keynote address was presented by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, while the Lead papers were presented by Professor V. O. Okoruwa, Professor D. J. Oyedele, and Dr. Jeroen Huising. Goodwill messages were given by the Vice-Chancellors of FUNAAB, ATBU, FUT-Minna, Director of Agricultural Land and Climate Change Management, OCP-Nigeria, and Nigeria Institute of Animal Science. Over five hundred (500) participants attended the opening ceremony which also featured the award of Fellows of the Soil Science Society of Nigeria (FSSSN) to five deserving members. Participants included Soil Scientists in Universities and Research Institutes, extension service providers, policy makers, agriculturists in the private sector, students and farmers. Over 250 papers were presented in the areas of Soil Survey, Classification and Land Evaluation; Integrated Soil Fertility Management; Sustainable Soil and Water Conservation; Environmental Soil Chemistry and Biotechnology; as well as Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Climate Change.
Following the deliberations on the lead and technical papers as well as the discussions during the field trip, the Society observes:
- And notes with delight the efforts by the Federal Government to improve fertilizer availability and access by farmers through the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and the Green Alternative (the Agriculture Promotion Policy 2016 – 2020). However, the fertilizer produced is still not crop and site specific.
- That there is widespread degradation of the nation’s soil and water resources due to inappropriate land use and soil management.
- That the trend in soil degradation is accentuated by the absence of soil maps at detailed scale as a basis for agricultural and non-agricultural land uses.
- Agricultural production and soil and water management practices are still largely traditional and inadequate to support sustainable soil health and its ecosystem services.
- Water is an essential input in increasing crop yield and achieving food security in a changing climate. However, not much is being done to increase the water supply to agriculture. For instance, existing dams in the country are either abandoned or underutilized and much of rain water is wasted as overland flows.
For instance, the field trip took members of the Society to Alabata Irrigation Scheme in Oyo State on Monya (Ibadan) to Iseyin Road where it was evident that no appropriate soil investigation was took place before the establishment of the Dam. The result is that the Dam is currently loaded with ferrous iron released as a result of inundation of the highly ferruginous soils, making the water use unsustainable for dry season crop production.
- Model generated Climate information for Nigeria gives a sea level rise of up to one meter by 2050 and temperature rise of 3.2OC by 2050 under a business – as – usual scenario. Extreme drought stress, particularly in the dry lands of the north and floods in the south are expected to greatly increase with attendant threats to and loss of livelihood sources. This will invariably undermine the achievement of SDG 1 and SDG 2.
- Agricultural land use extensification results in soil fertility depletion, loss of soil organic matter and biodiversity, release of greenhouse gases, land scarcity, and adversely affects food security.
In view of the importance of soil in agricultural production, and considering the central role of soil in environmental and socio-economic life of a nation, the Soil Science Society of Nigeria resolved as follows:
1. Detailed soil surveys and land evaluation should be conducted as a basis for developing evidence-based and scientific soil management strategies for sustainable soil use.
2. That fertilizer blends being made available to farmers should be crop and site specific and should include secondary and micronutrient elements.
3. There should be a paradigm shift from traditional soil and water conservation and management practices to evidence-based management techniques.
4. There is the dire need for sustainable solutions to combat the adverse effects of climate change on agricultural activities. Consequently, there is the need to re-vitalize the River Basin Development Authorities and irrigation facilities across the nation and extend same to other areas of need to promote year round food production and security.
5. There is the need to support research on decision support tools that integrate soil, water and atmospheric variables to develop climate-smart solutions to address climate change variability and renewable of fresh water supply and quality, and restore degraded soils and ecosystems and advance food security.
6. There is urgent need to conserve the nation’s soils and reclaim those that have been degraded physically, chemically and biologically through the adoption of suitable technologies tailored towards sustainable soil conservation and management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The Society hereby appreciates the warm reception accorded to participants at the conference by the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training which made the 42nd Annual Conference of the Society successful and memorable. Members of the communiqué drafting committee thank the society for the opportunity to serve.
Dated this 14th day of March, 2018.
E. Members of the Communique Drafting Committee
Prof. D. O. Asawalam
Prof. Peter I. Ogban
Prof. G. O. Kolawole
Prof. A. M. Hassan
Dr. E. U. Onweremadu
Dr. Effiom E. Oku