The Nigerian Government is launching a new digital soil test scheme to boost food production
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Developments said it will introduce soil test kits to farmers nationwide as part of efforts to boost food production.
The scheme involves giving farmers a testing kit known as 'Soil Doctor', which is able to analyse nutrient content in soil and calculate how much fertiliser to use on crops.
'Soil Doctor’ equipment would enable farmers to conduct an 'instant' test on the soil to show its PH, guiding farmers on the best fertilisers to apply in various soil types.
In an April interview with the News Agency of Nigeria when the scheme was first being proposed, Professor Victor Chude, a director for the Ministry's Farm Input Support Service, said that the current system of blanket application of fertiliser "results in waste of scarce fertilisers."
Chude explained, “Soil Doctor analyses the fertility of the soil by sending a message to the cloud, and the result comes immediately, telling you the fertiliser to be used for a particular soil.
“This technology is an improvement on the previous soil test method where field samples are taken to the laboratory for analysis and results gotten within a couple of weeks.
"With the availability of the Geographic Information System, modern techniques can be used to evaluate soil capacity and develop calibration curves for crops in each state.
“Currently, 65 extension agents are being trained on how to use this new technology, and they will in turn train the farmers.’’
The Nigerian Government has said it is "pleased" with the response it has received from farmers using the soil tester.