The Soil Science Society of Ghana has emphasized the importance of investing in building the organic matter of the country's soils, citing potential benefits such as reduced erosion, improved water retention, and resilience against climate change.
Dr. Edward Yeboah, National President of the Society, highlighted the significance of soil organic matter in mitigating environmental challenges during the 2023 World Soil Day celebrations at the Soil Research Institute (SRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Kwadaso near Kumasi.
Dr. Yeboah stated, “Increase in soil organic matter had the potential to reduce soil erosion and compaction, which improved the soil's capacity to retain more water and reduce the risk of flooding, as well as sand and dust storms.”
He emphasized the role of healthy soil as a carbon sink, contributing to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Dr. Yeboah explained that every percentage increase in soil organic matter allowed soils to hold 150,000 liters more water per hectare.
Under the theme “Soil and water: a Source of life,” the 2023 World Soil Day aimed to raise awareness of the crucial relationship between soil and water in achieving sustainable and resilient agricultural food systems.
Dr. Yeboah encouraged farmers to adopt precision agriculture technologies to optimize irrigation efficiency, assess irrigation needs through soil moisture sensors, and explore alternative water sources. He advised maintaining a permanent soil cover, minimizing tillage, and selecting crop varieties adapted to local soil moisture.
On the research front, Dr. Yeboah highlighted the need to explore practices minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving soil carbon. He mentioned the Recarbonizing Soil Programme (RECSOIL), a two-year initiative supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization, focusing on the “SOIL Doctor flagship Program of FAO.”
Mr. Gabriel Willie Quansah, Director of CSIR – Soil Research Institute, commended the institute's commitment to sustainable soil management practices, contributing to global environmental well-being.
Dr. Andre Bationo, Chairman of the CSIR-SRI Management Board, utilized the occasion to address the impact of climate change on water availability, agronomic practices, and responses to water.