Soil scientists are predicting a potential fall in crop yields in Ghana in the coming years unless serious efforts are made to improve soil fertility.
Continuous burning and cultivation of crops on a farmland without proper management are leading causes of the soil infertility.
Farmlands are said to have been constantly used without farmers embarking on prudent management systems to sustain soil fertility and productivity.
Agriculture plays a considerable role in the economy of Ghana, contributing more than 50 per cent to country’s total employment rate.
Reports by the United Nations and European Commission indicate an equivalent of 30 soccer fields of fertile land is being destroyed globally every minute.
This is attributed to irresponsible farming techniques which cost the world 10 million hectares of farmland every year.
Dr. Roland Nuhu Issaka, Principal Research Scientist at the Soil Research Institute (SRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), wants farmers in particular to desist from bad practices which damage soil quality.
“The soil infertility is already affecting crop yields in the country. The situation will be worse if pragmatic measures are not put in place to support farmers to improve their soil fertility,” he stated.
He explained the eco-technology and biotechnology systems where management of the crop environment becomes necessary and the introduction of new varieties could serve as alternative for farmers.
High quality soil is vital for increased food production while poor farming methods like mono cropping over long period deplete soil nutrients.
“With a very good soil, you will have good crops and poor reduction. But with a very bad soil, you will have poor yields. If farmers cannot produce enough to feed themselves how can they feed the nation?” asked Dr. Issaka.
Experts say once soil nutrients are depleted, crop yield involuntarily reduces, a situation they say confronts Ghana’s agriculture.
Dr. Nuhu and other soil scientists want practical measures to halt the trend to ensure food security.