Prof. Ayo Ogunkunle, the President, Council of the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science (NISS), has urged construction companies, land developers and farmers to consult soil scientists before executing any project.
Ogunkunle, who gave the advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Abuja, said such measures would curb the spate of failed projects because of the quality of soil used for them.
He said that there were different soils for different purposes and consulting an expert would help to identify the type of soil good for that particular purpose.
the NISS president, who harped quality soil, said consulting experts would be of great benefit to agriculture and other land use projects.
“In this regard, when people want to do any construction they have to check soil quality to ascertain if such soil can resist erosion.
“People just excavate anyhow, burn bushes anyhow, we cannot allow that.
“In fact, you cannot increase the area coverage of Nigeria neither can we go to Cameroon or other neighbouring countries to ask for some hectares of land because soil erosion has spoilt our land.
“Soil area is finite that is why we should be very careful about its use.
“Like urban development, building of houses, building of airports among others is also competing with agricultural production for the available soil.
“That is why we should use portions that are not good for agriculture for houses and other construction purposes, so that we leave or reserve the better soil for agriculture,’’ he said.
“Whatever one intends with the soil, one should do it in such a way that you allow people who have knowledge of soil to help or guide you so that it will not cause erosion because erosion is better prevented than control.’’
Ogunkunle stressed that controlling erosion was difficult, adding that most times, billions would be spent in trying to control erosion “like in some places in the eastern part where erosion is swallowing houses and villages.’’
According to him, soil is defined as a material that is not renewable and it will take you many years to renew 12 acres of soil.
He said that soil was better preserved than trying to recover it from degradation, adding that it would cost a lot to do that.
Ogunkunle, who identified human activities as a major contributor to the rate of erosion across the globe, particularly in Nigeria, however, urged civil societies, construction companies, government and farmers among others to imbibe practices that would ensure zero erosion.
He further advised on sustainable soil management, adding that clearing a piece of land for agricultural purposes must be controlled.
“One of the things we say in erosion prevention are insisting is that you don`t just clear a given place without some expert advice.
“Land clearing should be controlled because the way you clear a piece of land to commence agriculture can start up erosion.
“It may be very small but once you remove the grass or the forage, degradation has started, erosion will start, but there are ways of doing it to make it very minimal.
“There are ways of clearing that will leave some areas covered. You clear some areas then you leave some areas, especially, when the scope of land is very sharp.
“All activities should be controlled and people should allow trained soil scientists to help them.’’
Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Grace Yussuf