World Soil Day: UNIBEN Soil Science Dept marks World Soil Day with lecture


The Department of Soil Science and Land in the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Benin, Edo State, joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Soil Day with the theme, “Soil and Water as Source of Life”

World Soil Day is marked annually on December 5 as a means of focusing the world’s attention on the primacy of healthy soil as well as championing sustainable management of soil resources

As part of the activities to mark the day, a lecture was held at the lecture theatre in the Faculty.

The lecture involves engaging discussions, persuasive presentations, and an interactive session among its participants focusing essentially on the vital role of the soil and water in fostering life, agriculture, and environmental health.

The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chairperson of the event, Dr. (Mrs.) Valerie Uyi-Edosa said her committee was able to bring the town and the gown together to assemble in the overall interest of the human race, adding the conclusions reached would enlighten students and others on some of the hurtful practices that destroys the soil and by extension, the ecosystem

In his keynote address, Prof Joseph Ogeh enumerated the linkage between the health of the soil and the health of the planet

He posited further that the soil, as a living and breathing entity, teams- up with the insects, plants and the animals to make the planet sustainable for living.

He stated also that Nigeria can achieve food security by tapping into her unique biodiversity, stressing that ninety-five percent of the food we consume originates from the soil and the water bodies surrounding it.

Also, the Head of the Department (HOD), Dr. (Mrs.) Anthonia Osayanmo Bakare believes there is a prospect in agriculture, basing her optimism on the recent increase in the number of those applying to study soil science

According to her, the present intake of 82 first-year students to study soil science alone gives a glimmer of hope as more and more parents are coming to the painful but inevitable realization about the role of agriculture in economic sustainability and employment generation .

She further opined that the soil and water are vital to life, adding the events lined up to mark World Soil Day are a pointer to the interdependency between man and the soil

She said, “It is a call on society not to abandon agriculture but to sustain it. If we must sustain life, we also need to grow crops, wet the soil and look forward to a bumper harvest”.

Frowning at the unhelpful hiatus between the policymakers and the agricultural experts, a situation she explained they tried to bridge by making sure officials of the government were well-represented at the event, Dr. Bakare called for concerted efforts as well as cross-breeding in the attempt at boosting agricultural production in the country.

Among those who added their voices to the talking points during the event were Dr. Aigboghosa Samson Umweni, a pedologist; Mr. ThankGod Uchechukwu Ogegu, President of the Soil Science and Land Management Students Association, University of Benin chapter, who spoke on the importance of the “one health initiative” wherein agriculture is given a premium position given its vital role in human growth and sustainability; and, Prof Ikponmosa Abraham Ogboghodo, a microbiologist who delivered a lecture on the importance of the soil to humanity.

The guest speaker, Mr. Ugochukwu Ebubedike, delivered a compelling lecture on “Soil and Water: A Source of Life, Perspectives from the Agriculture Industry”

In particular, he narrated some of the peculiar struggles an average agricultural investor is made to wade through before reaching the break-even profit.

Among the challenges Ebubedike emphasized in his presentation include the location of the investment, the use of soil pedagogy for land development, returns on investment, the ease and/or rigidity of the loan repayment process, as well as waste/water management, noting however, that the success or failure of the mechanized farmer is largely dictated by the ability to interface with relevant research institutions on the use of their actionable research findings on soil and water fertility and viability

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