Soil salinity and food security in Nigeria

Soil salinity and food security in Nigeria

Soil salinity and food security in NigeriaAlmost all living creatures’ survival on Earth depend on the two essential interdependent processes of photosynthesis and respiration. In the absence of photosynthesis and respiration, life on Earth may be threatening due to the shortage of food and oxygen as well as excess carbon dioxide (CO2) in the ecosystem. The sustenance of the majority of living organisms cohabiting in the ecosystem depend on plant photosynthesis for their food and some clean oxygen needs in the environment. While photosynthesis uses energy from sunlight to produce carbohydrate (food), respiration breaks down this food to produce the energy required for intracellular plant activities during which oxygen is given off into the environment.

“Soil Salinity is a threat to photosynthesis and respiration processes, if not properly addressed, Humans and Plants will be tending toward extinction in the years to come”.

Soil Salinity and Photosynthesis
Soil salinity prevents water uptake by plants thereby exposing plants to drought stress. In order to conserve water, plants close their leaves’ stomata to prevent water loss through transpiration. However, this process also simultaneously restricts the entry of CO2 through the leaves into the plant thereby reducing the rate of photosynthesis by plants.

Reclaiming Salt-affected Soils in Agriculture to Reduce Land Degradation
According to the UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) on the Economics of Salt-induced Land Degradation and Restoration, it has been gathered that an average of 2,000 hectares of irrigated land in arid and semi-arid areas across 75 countries in the world have been degraded by salt over the past 20 years.

During a phone consultation with Professor Ayodele Josua Odofin of the Department of Soil Science and Land Management (FUT MINNA), he gave the following advice on managing salt-affected soils.

He advised that to reclaim salt-induced land degradation, the following points should be put into adequate consideration.

The method used for reclaiming salt-affected Soils differs depending on the type of salinity in question

Soil Testing: Soil analysis is the first approach to determine the type of salinity (Saline Soil, Sodic Soil and Saline Sodic Soil) being experienced by farmers. Soil test should be conducted to gather information such as Soil pH, Soil Electrical Conductivity (EC), cation exchange capacity (CEC), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR) and Sodium Percentage.

Some basic agronomic practices in reclaiming saline soil
1. Farmers are advised to cultivate salt tolerant varieties on affected soils
2. Provide quality irrigation water source and good drainage outlets
3. Increase organic manure incorporation into the soil
4. Avoid excess inorganic fertilizer quantification and improper method of application
httpss:// by Suleiman Kehinde Bello may be consulted.


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