Farmers in Akwa Ibom have been reminded of the importance of soil test before cultivation of crops to ensure maximum yields in the state.
The commissioner for agriculture, Dr Offiong Offor, who gave the reminder in Uyo during the training of Agricultural Extension Agents and farmers in the state, noted that the conduct of soil test by farmers would help their crops to perform well for a good harvest.
Offor explained that since soil provides the basis for crops to grow well it has become imperative for farmers to always carry out soil test before crops cultivation for them to succeed in their agricultural production in the state.
She said it would be counterproductive for farmers tocultivate their crops on an infertile soil, noting that fertile soil enhances maximum yields of agricultural inputs to the delight of farmers.
The commissioner, flanked by the permanent secretary in her Ministry, Mrs Mary Ukoette Bassey, noted that since the soil provides the base for plants to grow, farmers should treat as important the conduct of soil test before farming, noting that this would help to ascertain the level of fertility to guard against wastage of resources after crops cultivation.
The state of the soil fertility, the commissioner said, was a determinant factor to the agricultural outputs, which a farmer would produce in the farm, advising farmers to pay adequate attention to the soil components of farms for the best to be achieved in the state.
While applauding Governor Emmanuel for the huge investments in the agricultural sector, she said governmenteffort was greatly seen in the state as officials of her Ministry were working round the clock to ensure high level of agricultural production for the realization of food sufficiency in the state.
Offor appreciated the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS) for the initiative of training and distribution of soil test kits to farmers, adding that the gesture was complementing Governor Emmanuel’s food sufficiency policy in the state.
“The place of knowledge cannot be underestimated. I trust that the participants will make optimal use of the workshop, since the more we know the better we practice farming”, the commissioner declared.
She called on the beneficiaries of the kits to make optimal applications of the equipment to assist farmers in the rural areas to enhance agricultural production in addition to visiting AKADEP Corporate Headquarters for enquiries or clarity of any issue in agriculture.
The programme manager, Akwa Ibom Agricultural Development Programme (AKADEP), Mr. Emah Ekanem, while welcoming participants and guests commended the commissioner for always supporting his management in the conduct of the workshop, which he said, will be of immense benefit to farmers in the state.
Ekanem disclosed that the session was for the training of extension agents and farmers who will step-down the knowledge acquired to other farmers in the state.
The representative of NISS, who is a former commissioner for agriculture in the state, Professor Trenchard Ibia, scored Akwa Ibom high for being the first state in Nigeria to undertake the step-down training programme on soil test kits.
Ibia said the training programme was agreed upon during last month’s soft training that was arranged for commissioners for agriculture, environment and programme managers of the Agricultural Development Programmes in the six South-South states of Nigeria.
The Professor of soil science lauded Office Cheribien De Phosphate (OCP), Africa for donating the soil test kits, adding that the gesture was the mandate of NISS to successfully maintain the soil resources of Nigeria.
High point of the event was a practical session and distribution of soil test kits to participants by the commissioner for agriculture, Dr. Offiong Offor.