The problems of agriculture in Nigeria begin with the soil. Most of the farmable land in Nigeria contains soil that is low to medium in productivity. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with proper management, the soil can achieve medium to good productivity.
The main problem that affects soil fertility is soil erosion. Wind erosion, in particular, is quite damaging. Overtime, strong winds expose seedlings and crop root systems by blowing away loose, fine grain soil particles. Another effect is the accumulation of soil particles in drifts, which can cover crops. Also, wind erosion changes the texture of the soil. The particles responsible for water retention and fertility, such as clay, silt, and organic matter are generally lost, leaving behind a sandy soil.
Wind erosion can be greatly reduced by planting trees near farming areas. The trees will absorb most of the wind, which will prevent the loss of soil particles.
Another type of erosion that affects fertility is water erosion. There are two types of water erosion: splash erosion and rill erosion. Splash erosion occurs when rain drops impact the soil, and rill erosion occurs when channels of water carry soil downstream.
Water erosion is reduced when the soil is covered with a canopy. Also, improving the soil structure by adding organic matter greatly reduces water erosion.
Image by Sam Beebe from Flickr