CSIR calls for urgent steps to reduce high acidic contents in Ghana’s soils

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Science Scientists Meeting
Science Scientists Meeting

Urgent steps needed to reduce high acidic contents in Ghana’s soils – CSIR

Many farmlands in Ghana are becoming more acidic to the extent that they cannot support crop yields, a situation which can threaten agricultural production and food security in the country, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has said.

The Council has, therefore, called for urgent pragmatic measures to reduce the high acidic content in the soils.

Professor Paul Pinnock Bosu, Director-General of CSIR, said there was the need to divert more financial and human resources to help normalize the ever-increasing acidity of the country’s soils.

Addressing the 273rd Directors Management Committee Meeting and staff durbar of CSIR at the Soil Research Institute at Kwadaso, near Kumasi, he said the situation if not addressed, in the shortest possible time, could have dire consequences for Ghana.

“If the nutrients are rather available and the soil is acid the crops may not be able to produce the expected yields and for this reason, the problem needs to be resolved nationwide”, he stated.
He attributed the situation to “a lot of unfriendly” soil practices that increased acidic content in the soil.

These included rainfall and leaching, organic matter decay, harvesting of high yielding crops without ploughing back the residual materials into the soil, among others.

Prof. Bosu pointed out that effective management of acidic soils such as applying liming products (amelioration), using acidic tolerant crops and pasture varieties, could help avert the situation

He said the CSIR would next year launch an endowment fund to support internally generated funds from commercial activities to support research activities in view of the dwindling funding support from government and other donor agencies.

Dr Edward Yeboah, Director of Soil Research Institute (SRI), said currently the country’s soils were losing the expected content of phosphorus which ensured the viability of crops.

He explained that every viable soil needed a phosphorus content of 15 milligrams per kilometre.
However, SRI’s research had revealed that currently the phosphorus in the soils were between 5.5 to 10 milligrams per kilometre across the country.

Phosphorous is one of the major plant nutrients essential for cell division and development of the growing tip of the plant.

It is also vital for seedling and young plant development.
The primary way phosphorous leaves a field is through water passing over surface of the soil as run-off, Dr Yeboah explained.

He called for pragmatic efforts from all stakeholders to help increase the level of phosphorus to improve the viability of soil for crops to thrive and produce as expected.

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