JIS News

Essex Valley in St. Elizabeth has been selected as a pilot area for soil sampling under the Soil Fertility Mapping Project.

This was disclosed by Chief Technical Director, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Orville Palmer, during the virtual World Soil Day technical forum yesterday (December 2), organised by the Agricultural Land Management Division (ALMD).

The technical capacity-building project will be implemented in collaboration with the Moroccan National Institute for Agricultural Research.

The project will include training in laboratory procedures, development of a web-based information system for soils and fertiliser recommendation based on soil characteristics.

The Soil Fertility Mapping Project is in keeping with a commitment by Jamaica and Morocco to strengthen bilateral partnership and expand activities that form part of the 2016 Framework Agreement on Cooperation on Fertilisers and Soil Fertility.

Meanwhile, Mr. Palmer said the work of the ALMD, through their Soil Health, Plant Tissue and Water Laboratory, has been instrumental in assessing, monitoring and safeguarding the country’s soil health.

“Worthy of mention, also, is the tremendous work being undertaken by the Soil Health Committee,   which was revitalised in 2020 and tasked with focusing on soil health and its impact on climate change adaptation and mitigation,” he said.

Activities undertaken by the Committee include soil analysis for the agro-parks within the island, and preparation of soil and crop sustainable maps for the agro-parks.

Mr. Palmer noted that members of the Committee have also been integrally involved in remediation of mined out lands through a project that looked at assessing soil performance in mined out bauxite pits in St Ann.

He pointed out that recent statistics indicate that domestic crop production recorded an increase of 6.5 per cent for the July to September quarter of 2021, and that this continued high level of performance within the agricultural sector hinges on many interrelated things, one of which is sustainable soil management.

Mr. Palmer added that healthy soil is at the epicentre of healthy crop production and increased productivity, noting that this resource must be protected and maintained.

“So, as we commemorate World Soil Day, let us continue to educate our farmers and the public on sustainable soil management practices that can alleviate salinisation and other factors that negatively affect our soil quality,” he said.

He urged farmers to take advantage of the services provided by the ALMD to include technical advice on soil fertility, nutrient management and fertiliser applications, and advice on the crops suitable for growth, based on the soil type on their farms.

World Soil Day is held annually on December 5 as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.

 

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