The Star (Nairobi)

23 October 2013

Kenya: Call for More Info On Soil Use

SCIENTISTS have been asked to provide information on soil use soil. Speaking during the joint 27th Soil Science of East Africa and the Sixth African Soil Science Society conference in Nakuru yesterday, the president Dr. Martin Yemefack asked for new scientific bases in soil science.

He said this will increase food production, resource sustainability and environmental protection. "Rapid transformation of the social and environmental contexts and impacts of agricultural practices on soil, water and atmosphere has brought new challenges to soil science," Dr Yemefack said.

He added that soils are no longer considered only as a resource for quality food production or for bio-fuels agriculture but also as a biological reserve and carbon sink. Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) Director Dr. Ephraim Mukisira said the provision of raw materials for industries and income generation has grossly been hampered by severe land degradation in Kenya.

Director said that land degradation manifested by soil erosion, soil nutrient depletion has been due to continuous cultivation and the declining soil fertility hinders sufficient food production.

Mukisira said the increasing land degradation, impacts of climate change, drought and desertification results in lower productivity of arable lands and ecosystem services. He asked scientists to focus on the contribution of land and water in the agricultural production value chains.

"Addressing threats and opportunities associated with climate change and scaling up of proven technologies will have a transformational impact on the livelihoods of small-scale farmers," he said. Dr. Mukisira also urged soil scientists to prioritize the elimination of hunger and poverty reduction through sustainable agriculture.

The conference that will come to close on Friday attracted over 200 participants from Africa, Europe and Asia, provided a rare opportunity for soil experts to share knowledge, information and technology.

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