AFAN advocates soil testing by farmers before fertiliser application


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Mr Tunde Arosanyin, the Technical Adviser, All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), has advocated use of soil testing kits by farmers before fertiliser application on crops across states of the federation.

Arosanyin, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday, added that it would boost food production in the country.

He said that the issue of soil analysis or testing before application of fertiliser by farmers was important as it would not only guaranty food security but also enhance farmer’s productivity and standard of living.

“You don’t bring any type of fertiliser for soil. We must first of all test the soil and crop to be used on that piece of land to ascertain if the fertiliser would be suitable for the soil.

“We must also have a baseline survey to know the elements contained in the soil and know the level of deficiency on it to correct it.

“There are some crops that when fertiliser is applied on them, there will be residual effect that is transferred to crop. Like food items that we consume directly such as carrot.

“But for other crops like rice and maize, they undergo some processes that take care of these residual issues. So this challenge has to be addressed at the early stage,’’ he said.

He added that once a farmer gets it wrong at the fertiliser application level, it affects the whole production processes, which decreases productivity and the country’s economy.

Arosanyin said that the association was planning awareness campaigns at the rural areas to educate farmers more on the need to test their soil before applying fertiliser.

He added that the era at which anything was used on crops are over, appreciating Federal Government effort in trying to make testing kits available for each state of the federation.

According to him, other countries like Ghana, Cote d’ Ivoire and Sierra Leone in West Africa have gaps on the issue of fertiliser application and distribution.

On fertiliser subsidy, Arosanyin said that subsidy should come at the output level, adding that when farmers harvest and are ready to sell, government should add little amount to encourage farming.

“We are thinking that subsidy can come at the output level in the sense that if the farmer produces maize, he has about 5 tonnes and the cost of production is about N40, 000 per tonnes.

“Government can through an off taker subsidise by adding N10, 000 on each tonne to ensure that the farmers make profit through output in order to address fertliser diversion problem.

“We also want government through its institution to have a mechanism that would be able to cushion the cost of production through subsidy at the national level,’’ he added.

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