Ghana must invest in building organic matter of soils – Soil Science Society

The Soil Science Society of Ghana has stressed the need for Ghana to invest in building the organic matter of the country’s soils.

It said the increase in soil organic matter had the potential to reduce soil erosion and compaction, which improved the soil’s capacity to retain more water and reduce the risk of flooding, as well as sand and dust storms.

Dr. Edward Yeboah, National President of the Society, who made the call, said healthy soil acted as a carbon sink and helped to adapt to climate change and mitigates its effect.

Dr Yeboah, speaking at the 2023 World Soil Day celebrations (WSD) at the Soil Research Institute (SRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) at Kwadaso near Kumasi, indicated that each percentage increase in soil organic matter helped soils to hold 150,000 litres more water per hectare.

He explained that enhanced soil and water management improved the land’s capacity to withstand extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and fires.

This year’s Day was o
bserved under the theme ‘Soil and water: a Source of life’.

The 2023World Soil Day and its campaign aim to raise awareness on the importance and relationship between soil and water in achieving sustainable and resilient agricultural food systems.

Dr Yeboah pointed out that healthy soil played a crucial role as a natural filter, purifying and storing water as it infiltrates into the ground.

He therefore encouraged farmers in irrigated agriculture to use precision agriculture technologies to optimize irrigation efficiency.

Again, farmers must assess irrigation needs through soil moisture sensors and explore alternative water sources such as desalinated water and recycled water.

It was also important for farmers in irrigated agriculture to ensure high-quality water for irrigation to prevent soil salinization and pollution and preserve soil moisture.

The Soil Scientist advised farmers to keep a permanent soil cover, minimize or adopt zero tillage, harvest rainwater to reduce the dependency on surface and gr
oundwater and opt for crop varieties adapted to the local available soil moisture.

Dr Yeboah said at the research front, researchers still needed to explore the hypothesis and management practices that minimized greenhouse gas emissions increase or preserve soil carbon.

He said the Food and Agriculture Organization through the Recarbonizing Soil Programme (RECSOIL) was supporting Soil Research Institute to implement a two-year programme with focus on the ‘SOIL Doctor flagship Program of FAO’.

The Implementation of a RECSOIL – Green path pilot project in Ghana is to enhance soil health and soil organic carbon sequestration through the adoption of sustainable soil management practices to contribute to mitigating and adapting to climate change and enhancing food security in cooperation with farming communities participating in the FAO Forest and Farm Facility.

Mr. Gabriel Willie Quansah, Director, CSIR – Soil Research Institute said the institute had been at the forefront of sustainable soil management pract
ices, researching and implementing interventions.

These practices, according to him, not only enhanced soil health but also contributed significantly to mitigating erosion, reducing pollution, and enhancing water infiltration and storage.

‘Our efforts are aligned with the aims and objectives of World Soil Day and its campaign, reflecting our commitment to sustainable practices that improve soil health and contribute to global environmental well-being’, he indicated.

Dr. Andre Bationo, Chairman of the CSIR-SRI, Management Board used the occasion to expose soil scientists to the impact of climate change on water availability and good agronomic practices and response to water among others.

Source: Ghana News Agency