The Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) has made a request for the collaboration of the Ministry of Science and Technology to enhance food production and sustainable environment.
The Registrar of NISS, Prof. Victor Chude, made this appeal during a courtesy visit of some members of staff of the institute to the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Mohammed Umar, on Friday in Abuja. Prof. Chude, who was represented by the Head, Regulatory Affairs, NISS, Mr Oderinde Lanre, said the visit was to seek the ministry’s collaboration in to support to the institute in achieving its `Five Year Action Plan’ for the management and protection of soil resources in the country.
He said that the plan is to be implemented between 2020 and 2025, which the general idea is to increase food production, the sustainability of the environment among others. “Our main target is to see possible areas on how we can collaborate with relevant agencies to achieve the Five Year Action Plan. We are trying to reach out to as many bodies that are relevant including the ministry to let them know what we are doing, how we can better collaborate to ensure that Nigeria soil, especially food production in the country is enhanced.”
Prof. Chude stated that the action plan had been categorized into five pillars which include the promotion of sustainable management of soil resources for soil protection, conservation, and sustainable productivity, encourage investment, technical cooperation, policy, and extension in soil. “The third pillar is to promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps, priorities, and synergies with related productive, environmental, and social development actions by assessing and prioritizing soil-related research gaps.
“Enhance the quantity and quality of soil data and information, data collection and generation, analysis, validation, reporting, monitoring and integration with other disciplines. “The fifth pillar is the harmonisation of methods, measurements, and indicators for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources. “For the successful management of our soil there must be policy, technical cooperation in different areas, there must be awareness, education from primary school, secondary and university and then increase in extension services for people to be able to aware. “So the institute is championing the course of ensuring that there is policy, cooperation, there is awareness and also an extension on soil matter,” Prof Chude stated.
He, however, said that soil was not given the needed attention in the country, however, described Soil as a resource that “cannot be used at will, so it has to be well managed”. “The institute is established by the Federal Government Act 2017 to promote soil quality management, educate the public on soil science activities, and cooperate with relevant associations and soil science bodies locally and internationally among others. “With the increasing population in Nigeria and globally coupled with climate change, land degradation, and all the rest, we all agreed that there is a serious need to manage our soil properly. “And in order to fulfill our mandate as an institute, we have set out five-year action plans in line with what is also obtainable at the international level. “So in the next five years, we want to see how we can back up our research institutes with science and technology that are practicable for farmers and as well useful to everyone.”
In response to the institute’s request, the permanent secretary of the ministry, who was represented by Mr Ken Onwumbiko, the Director Planning, Research and Policy Analysis of the ministry, assured the institute of the ministry’s collaboration in the area of soil research and would liaise with relevant agencies under the ministry.
He said that agencies such as National Biotechnology, Development Agency (NABDA), National Institute for Research and Development (NIRD), Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory and Technology (NISLT) and others will all be carried along in every necessary area.
Reported by OLADIMEJI OGUNTOYINBO,
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