The Lagos State Government has intensified efforts to prevent soil salinisation in order to ensure hygienic growth of agricultural products across the State.
The Honourable Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, disclosed this in her address at an event organised by the Ministry, in collaboration with the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), to mark the “World Soil Day” with the theme: “Halt Soil Salinisation: Boost Soil Productivity”.
The Commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji, stated that the Ministry has put in place measures to mitigate soil salinisation, which occurs naturally or due to conditions resulting from management practices.
Her words: “Salinisation is a process by which water-soluble salts accumulate in the soil, which is of great concern to everyone because excess salts hinder the growth of crops by limiting their ability to take up water. As salinity increases, soil productivity decreases because the roots of plants lose moisture and nutrients back to the soil”.
Noting that the natural phenomena that affect the soil are climatic change, increase in atmospheric temperature and rise in the sea level among others, Olusanya stated that the potential threat of salinity to food security calls for aggressive advocacy for global action to mitigate its adverse effect on food production.
“As a proactive government and in alignment with the T.H.E.M.E.S Development Agenda, we have been mitigating soil salinisation by sensitising crop farmers on the utilisation of the drip line irrigation system, which requires a minimum water usage as water is dropped directly to the root where it is required by the plants”, she added.
The Commissioner further explained that Lagos State Government has installed and ensured the utilisation of the drip line irrigation system at government-owned farms such as the Food Production Centres at Araga, Epe and Avia in Badagry.
She also emphasised that the Ministry’s extension officers visit farmers across the State to enlighten them on the use of organic manure in place of the synthetic fertilizers where necessary.
According to her, part of the efforts put in place by the government was the establishment of a Waste-to-Wealth plant in Odogunyan and Ikorodu to produce organic fertilizers for local use.
She assured farmers of the present administration’s commitment to supporting them and other stakeholders by creating an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agriculture as this will go a long way in growing the economy through food production and sufficiency.
The General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, who was represented by Mrs. Abolanle Kasunmu, Director, Lands Water Pollution Control Department in the Agency, said any soil that is damaged has a significant negative impact on crop production and agricultural inputs.
She maintained that the agency will not relent in its efforts to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all in the State.