The federal government has commissioned the National Soil Testing and Geographic Information System (GIS) laboratories of the Department of Agricultural Land and Climate Change Management Services.
Speaking at the event in Abuja, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Dr. Mohammed Mahmood Abubakar, said the labs were necessary for the promotion of technology-driven agriculture in the country.
According to him, the department had been at the forefront of disseminating information and carrying out projects on effective and efficient management of the country’s soil resources.
He said: “The laboratories we are commissioning today will further strengthen the capacity of the department in this respect.
“The ministry now has four national soil laboratories in Abuja, Kaduna, Ibadan and Umudike each equipped with Mid-Infrared Spectrophotometer (MIR) for dry chemistry analytical procedures.
“The equipment has the capacity for analyzing large quantities of soil samples rapidly. The four laboratories will go a long way in expanding our soil testing capacity.”
The permanent secretary of the ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, said the laboratories are part of the efforts of government to deploy modern technologies necessary for the effective management of the country’s soil resources.
He said: “In our drive towards attaining food self-sufficiency, the facilities we are commissioning today are expected to contribute substantially in driving the process because the soil is the starting point when we talk of food security.
“These labs are expected to expand soil analytical services in the country and bring soil testing services closer to our farming communities.”
Umakhihe urged the director and management staff of the department to ensure that adequate control measures are put in place for proper use and maintenance of the equipment installed in all the laboratories.