THE Vice-Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Prof. Felix Salako, has said efforts to modernise agriculture are being done without sufficient scientific data on soil types and capability for crop performance.
Salako, who spoke during a visit to Vintage Press Limited, Publishers of The Nation, said it was necessary to carry out a national soil survey, and develop extensive information for land use planning.
The National Soils Map, he said, was developed in 1992 and is outdated.
He spoke of the need to carry out a fresh national soils survey and develop a soil map to determine the suitability of growing various crops in different areas of the country.
According to him, preparing soils map for a specific region is very important to support agricultural productivity by identifying and recommending specific fertiliser for specific place.
The map, he said, will help to transform the agriculture sector by improving the fertility of soil to support agricultural transformation.
He noted that the agriculture sector is facing serious challenges due to long-standing practice that the same kind of fertiliser should uniformly be used across various soil types.
On the livestock industry, Salako said the university was conducting a research to improve it, adding that the university developed what it called first improved indigenous chicken breed – the FUNAAB Alpha.
According to him, the locally-bred chickens were developed after 24 years of rigorous selection, cross breeding, as well as on-station and on-farm testing across five agro-ecological zones of Nigeria.
Salako, who explained that the university established the first Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics in the country in 1990, said the latest discovery was achieved under the headship of a distinguished animal breeder, Prof. Olufunmilayo Adebambo.
Salako said: “Under her headship, she was challenged to work on animal breeds that would be acceptable to Nigerians. She took up this challenge in 1994 to work and develop the local chicken breeds of Nigeria to international standard.”
While the VC said the breed was comparable to internationally acclaimed chickens, he added that the university had successfully placed on the Nigerian poultry market a dual purpose breed of chicken tested in rural households, suitable for egg production and poultry meat.