Adama — Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) said its soil fertility program has improved productivity and the use of fertilizers that match with various soil types in the country.
Since 2012, the agency has been implementing soil research based map (atlas) to identify soil fertility and to implement suitable fertilizer in four states and one city administration including Amhara, Harari, SNNPs, Tigray and Dire Dawa, ATA Soil Resource Information System Project Leader Tegbaru Belete told The Ethiopian Herald.
By doing so, ATA has enabled the country to boost productivity applying fertilizers including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and boron among others in addition to dap and urea that the country has been solely using for the past consecutive years, he said.
Accordingly, due to the proper implementation of mixed and suitable fertilizers recommended by the agency, the productivity of wheat, barley, teff and maize products respectively increased on average by 29, 33, 21 and 15 quintals per hectare, he noted.
He said that researches, experimenting on more than 80,000 soil samples found out 29 percent acidity and significant amount of salt and recommended to use gypsum and measure the amount of water to protect soil fertility.
As to him, the soil fertility program has been improving through time and the Ethiopian Soil Resource Institute was established by the Council of Ministers to practically monitor and eradicate the sphere bottlenecks.
The institute would help to provide telephone service about the soil status to farmers and to release additional information about agricultural input usage, he stated.
ATA Geo Statistics Expert Hailu Shiferaw also said that country's soil fertility research status has been advancing through time using state-of-the-art technologies including various tablets and modern database system which help to upgrade wide data collection and archiving information.
Ethiopia is the first country to implement digital soil map in the continent, but it needs to do a lot in-terms of utilizing important fertilizers such as nitrogen phosphate, potassium, boron and zinc, he stressed.
Machine learning system enabled the agency to identify soil types and deficiency of various minerals at kebele and woreda level within a short period of time, he noted.