Future of Soil Science in SSA

Victor O. Chude
Professor and
President, Soil Science Society of Nigeria (SSSN)
Soil Science in Africa
As a discipline, Soil Science is relatively young in most African
In most Universities (particularly, in Nigeria), Soil Science has
been subsumed in either the Department of Agronomy or those of
Crop / Plant Science.
Soil Science is not recognized as a profession in most countries of
Africa ( Job opportunities are compromised)
Low enrolment of graduate students in soil science as a core course
in tertiary institutions of learning.
Soil Science has been demerged from the Departments of Agronomy
and Crop /Plant Science in most Universities of Africa (making some
level of soil science based research possible).
Appropriate and optimum nutrient requirements for all crops across
agro-ecologies in most countries of Africa.
Diagnostic soil maps of most agricultural soils at various scales
available with digital soil maps under way.
Tested and proven soil and water conservation practices for dry lands
available and in use by farmers.
Current efforts
• Creating awareness through soil care extension advocacy to
policy makers and other stakeholders.
• Development of commercial rhizobium strains from natural
• Promotion of interdisciplinary approach to addressing soil
based research.
• Increased contribution to international initiatives
• Increased visibility and use of soil based research results is
being promoted through the push for soil researchExtension linkages.
Soil Science beyond the agriculture confines: with increasing
environmental challenges in Africa, a paradigm shift beyond the
agronomy paradigm to environmental sciences is envisaged (soil
ecology, soil economics and archaeology).
Beyond the traditional Soil Science education curriculum: a review of
the focus of the discipline which has been ag. based to include
management of mine soils, archeological sites, forensic soil science,
soils and human health etc. basic mathematics and physics based
analytical tools incorporated.
Soil improvement research will emphasize more on biological
processes to address major soil quality based challenges (nutrient
cycling optimization, soil biological activity enhancement etc).
Strong country based soil advocacy: development of strong friendship
link through advocacy between soil experts, policy makers and
managers and, legislative structures at all level of governance.
The Future of soil Science: can we fast track it?
• Through strong and active international collaborations.
• Capacity building programme for future soil scientists
and managers of soils (through exchange programs for
graduate students, faculty and professionals).
• Through national and international funding to support
joint soil based R & D projects in Africa
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