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Scientists conduct soil survey in Uganda

By Noah Jagwe

Added 10th October 2017 12:10 PM

This will enable policy makers design methods to improve Uganda’s agriculture production system.

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Professor George William Otim Nape (in blue shirt) and Conservation International President Jenifer Moris attending to citrus trees affected by lack some soil nutrients. Photos by Noah Jagwe

Scientists are carrying out a soil survey for Uganda to determine the level of depletion of soil nutrients and minerals as a result of climate change.

This will enable policy makers design methods to improve Uganda’s agriculture production system.

The knowledge will also help to determine the amount of potassium, nitrogen, phosphorus and the soil PH.

This will be useful to the local farmers to determine when and how to add fertilizers during farming.

One of the Scientists in the study, Prof George William Otim Nape, the executive director Africa Innovation Institute (AFRII) said the results will be analyzed to give the percentage of soil nutrients and minerals.

“Once we are done, it’s going to be much valuable to improve our agriculture,” Otim said.

The study is very important in estimating the carbon stock in Uganda. “The idea is that once we get the information required, we will estimate the total biomass remaining in the country,” Otim added.

This was during data collection exercise for farmers and managers in Nakasongola district.

 tephen wesiga a biophysical technician taking soil samples in akasongola Stephen Kwesiga, a biophysical technician taking soil samples in Nakasongola

 
The exercise to generate data is being conducted by Africa Innovations and Vital Signs in districts of Nakasongola and Luwero.

Otim added that study conducted will also help the scientists to come up with the soil atlas of Uganda.

The survey is being carried in partnership with Ministry of Agriculture Animal industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Water and Environment and AFRII to obtain information about the status of environment, agriculture and the soil of Uganda.

Dr. Gerald Kittaka, the production Officer Nakasongola District noted that drought has become a recurring hazard in Nakasongola coupled with pests and diseases which affect crops and animals leading to economic and material loss to the district.

Kittaka said it’s so critical for the district to have early warning system to deal with frequent recurrence of draught in Nakasongola.

 
Nakasongola is one of the districts that have recorded the highest crop failures associated with poor rain patterns and pests such as the fall army worm, according to Kittaka.

Nkuggwa Norbert, the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Nakasongola said climate change is a phenomenon that has disturbed the district so much in the recent past compared to other areas.

The soil survey will help to devise better methods on how to rejuvenate forests, organisms and help farmers to live in harmony with them.

Jenifer Moris, the President of Conservation International says they want to understand the challenges of climate change and how other factors related to soil and health are impacting community livelihood around the country.

“We are trying to get what  data services are needed, where are the data gaps, what kind of tools we can bring to help farmers in better decision making,” Moris said. 

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