FG commences AFSIS pilot project

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The federal government has commenced the African Soil Information Service (AFSIS) pilot project as part of efforts to address the lack of quality information and data on soil and agricultural landscape.
This is believed would help boost sustainable agricultural across the Nigerian agro- ecologies.
The project which is being funded by Bill and Melinda Gates according to a statement signed by a Senior officer, in the ministry of Agriculture and Rural development department, Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, will help builds technology innovations and services to fill one of the major gaps in spatial Information in African soil, that is widely acknowledged to be hampering scientific progress in agri-economic development.
The Permanent Secretary, Dr. Bukar Hassan during his meeting with members of the Ministerial Steering Committee on the African Soil Information Service (AFSIS) and formal launching of the AfSIS pilot project in the Ministry today said he was impressed with the work AFSIS is doing to build technology innovations and services to drive the future of African Agriculture, particularly Nigeria and expressed hope that, the technology would assist governments , farmers and relevant stakeholders in Agriculture to pay more attention to soil development in moving the agricultural sector forward.
Represented by the Director, Plantation in the Department Of Agriculture, Mr Quadri Olalekan, he declared: “Our farmers will no longer continue to shoot in the dark , the project is important and we will be able to maximize the duration of the project and get the best out of it”.
Earlier, the Director, Lands and Climate Change, Engr. Sunday Edibo has explained that the AfSIS project which is being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is aimed at “rapidly expanding the use of world class information technology and data science to ensure that Africa’s soil and landscape resources are described, understood and used effectively to increase agricultural productivity and lower the ecological footprints of agriculture as a means of raising the prosperity of Africa’s communities and nations”.
Engineer Edibo said the area of work covered so far include; fairly detailed soil and fertilizer response survey of the central maize producing area of Nigeria ; training of soil and plant laboratory for NiSIS and IITA staff in spectral methods for soil prediction; compilation and updating of relevant remote sensing data for soil and landscape mapping and spectral and spatial prediction model development to generate new soil maps and landscape information products.

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