Current and Potential Soil Suitability for Cassava for Sustainable Production in Varying Soils of Bayelsa State Nigeria

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Current and Potential Soil Suitability for Cassava for Sustainable Production in Varying Soils of Bayelsa State Nigeria

Ogechi Mercy Okorocha*1, Emmanuel Uzoma Onweremadu2, Chioma Mildred Ahukaemere3, Bernadine Ngozi Aririguzo4 and Adaobi Uchenna Onyechere5
1,2,3,4Department of Department of Soil Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria.
5Department of Soil Science, University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo, Imo State, Nigeria.
Received: 30 May 2023; Revised: 21 June 2023; Accepted: 27 June 2023; Published: 29 July 2023


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Abstract: Mangrove swamp deposit, Sombreiro Warri deltaic deposit, and Recent and sub-recent alluvial deposit soils of Bayelsa State were characterized and evaluated for arable crop cassava production. Results showed that there were variations in the soil physicochemical properties. Soils underlain by Mangrove swamp deposit being better than others since it had greater content of organic matter, total nitrogen, Ca and total exchangeable bases. It also recorded higher pH making it less acidic for crop production. The results of the current (actual) suitability map of the soils showed a wide range of moderate to marginal suitability scores for cassava production except in in soils of Otuoke (11.4 to 24.28%) indicating temporary nonsuitable (N1) for cassava production. However, the potential suitability map of the study area revealed that the soils were moderately suitable for cassava. The study also revealed that fertility is a major constraint to the production of cassava and managerial strategies capable of boosting fertility status should be employed for cassava production in this region.

I. Introduction

Meeting the food demand of the global population is the main challenge facing agricultural production and development. This population is expected to reach 9 – 10 billion by the year 2050 and by approximation, 12 billion by 2100 (U.N, 2019). Global food demand is expected to rise up to 60% by 2050, and this rise is expected to be much greater in tropical Africa where Nigeria has its place (Van Ittersum et al., 2016). The global policy agenda for many generations show more concern for sustainable agricultural practices that will support this growing population (Rosegrant and Cline 2003). Perhaps this could be a result of the fact that agricultural productivity is declining because of land degradation driven by inappropriate land use caused by poverty (Lambina et al., 2001).

Cassava is one of the dominant crops in southern Nigeria, and holds paramount importance in food security and livelihood. Cassava serves as buffer against crop failure because it has been known to grow in marginal soils giving it the potential to eliminate food crises and famine (Anikwe and Ejike, 2018). The production of cassava is declining due to their cultivation on moderately and marginally suitable soils, and under low to poor management conditions. Such constraints caused by soil degradation are responsible for the low productivity of the crop. Loss of soil nutrients, waterlogging (Singh, 2016), and contamination (Sam et al., 2016; Chartzoulakis and Bertaki, 2015) are some of the serious environmental problems facing agricultural activities in this area. Such degradations make the previously used soil for the cultivation of these crops unsuitable for their production (Verheye, 2008), and if this usage continues, it may pose a serious threat to food security in this region (Gomiero, 2016; Abd-Elmabod, 2019). There is a need for effective utilization of land resources according to their suitability to achieve sustainable agricultural production (FAO 1976; Elaalem et al., 2010). Allocation of land resources to the use for which they are most suitable is the best approach to ensuring optimum output (Fasina et al., 2007). In this regard, a land evaluation strategy seems to be an effective tool both for sustainable agriculture as well as sustainable land use planning (Shahbazi et al., 2009; Perveen et al., 2012). The main objective of this study is to evaluate the suitability of soils of Bayelsa State for cassava production.

II. Materials and methods

Study Area

This research was carried out in Bayelsa state situated in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Its geographical coordinates lie within Latitudes 4° 30’to 4° 39`00’’ North and longitude 6° 11’to 6° 16`00” East (Figure 1). The area is about 695 km2 with maximum elevation of 29 meters and minimum elevation of 1 meters above sea level (Figure 3). The area is bounded by River Niger in the north. Bayelsa is known for its high rainfall of about 3,899-4900mm per year. The temperature ranges from 24.70C (76.40F) to 270C (81.40F) in February. The relative humidity is between 74 to 89%.