By Abdul Rahman Bangura –
NEW AFRICA DAILY NEWS ( NADN ) Freetown, Sierra Leonne- Zimbabwe, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement has bent on to apply a mandatory policy on contract agriculturist with acerbic turf in the next summer to apply agricultural lime to correct the soil pH; since many Zimbabwean soils are caustic, by way of ensuing windfalls from the valuable fertilizers they apply.
Soil pH is a criterion of the disposition of the soil and its proficiency to help nutrients to the crop. When pH is very low, less than 5.0, nutrient put a less than 45%, by implication, 55% of the nutrients will not be utilized by the crop and this influences in losses. A farmer will have to apply lime to boost the nutrients uptake from the soil.
However, the soils activity program entails the country’s growth and usage of lime to enhance sour soils commencing from June to July, particularly for the Government and private financed input programs comprising, the Presidential Inputs Scheme and the Commercial Contract Farming strategy led by financial subprograms and targeting 5, 000 highly productive farmers in saturated areas.
Dr. John Basera -Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Secretary announced that most soils in the country had been jeopardized to chemicals and fertilizer use for many years and this has led to contaminated soils with low pH.
“To achieve the targeted average yields across all crop production programs, namely the commercial contract farming program and the “climate proofed” Presidential Input Scheme, a soil conditioning (soil pH correction blitz) program should be mandatorily undertaken.
“Dr. Basera said awareness campaigns would be held to educate farmers on the importance of pH and conditioning in up-scaling yields.
He said Government would decentralize soil testing facilities to agriculture colleges, universities and research institutions throughout the country for easier access by farmers.
“Government will also avail soil pH meters to agricultural extension workers and each extension worker will be given a target and expected to take samples, monitor the liming program on 100 households per season,” he said.
There will also be a promotion of the formulation of granulated or liquid lime by the private sector.
“In the medium to long term, the recovery plan proposes to look into possibilities of using satellites for soil analytics and soil pH determination,” he said.
The government has introduced the Agriculture Recovery Plan as a result of concerns on the continued decline in maize, wheat, and soybean production levels, which is a significant threat to national food security and is imposing insurmountable pressure on the government treasury as the country’s food import requirements increase.
For New Africa Daily News Abdul Rahman Bangura Reports, Africa Correspondent