By Eileen Ihemadu
The Federal Government has kick-started the African Soil Information Service (AFSIS) pilot project in order to address the lack of quality information and data on soil and agricultural landscape which would help boost sustainable agricultural productivity across the Nigerian agro- ecologies.
The project which is being funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation builds technology innovations and services to fill one of the major gaps in spatial Information in African soil, that is widely acknowledged to be hampering scientific progress in agri-economic development.
It is for this reason that Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation and Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa initiated AFSIS projects in 5 countries namely Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria.
Already, many international partners such as ICRAF, CIAT are supporting the initiative intended to last 4 years. The Project will take off in Ebonyi and Kebbi State; while the new techniques/technologies will be used to build capacity through training of staff in Abuja, Kaduna and Ibadan over the next one week.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Bukar Hassan during his meeting with members of the Ministerial Steering Committee on the African Soil Information Service (AFSIS) and formal launching of the AfSIS pilot project in the Ministry yesterday, said he was impressed with the work AFSIS is doing to build technology innovations and services to drive the future of African Agriculture, particularly Nigeria and expressed hope that, the technology would assist governments, farmers and relevant stakeholders in agriculture to pay more attention to soil development in moving the agricultural sector forward.
Represented by the Director, Plantation in the Department Of Agriculture, Mr Quadri Olalekan, declared; “Our farmers will no longer continue to shoot in the dark , the project is important and we will be able to maximize the duration of the project and get the best out of it”.