As part of broader efforts to modernise Ghana’s agriculture, Soil Research Institute (SRI) of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has launched a web-based application platform for easy access to information on the soil to enhance food production.

The initiative will ensure ready access to information on agriculture technologies for effective and sustainable use of soil resources for farming activities to guarantee food security.

The online platform contains digitised soil maps of specific locations, soil characteristics, and appropriate nutrient or mineral requirements for key crops in each agro-ecological zones of Ghana.

On the platform, information on soil nutrient availability, soil physical properties, and fertility limitations as well as soil suitability for selected crops can also be accessed.

According to CSIR-SRI, agricultural modernisation is an important foundation for increased food production and security.

However, Ghana’s agriculture is characterised by low crop yields due to poor soil management.

As part of efforts to address the challenges, the Government of Canada through Modernizing Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) programme, financially supported the development of the platform to facilitate Ghana’s effort to transform and modernize its agriculture.

Speaking during the launch, Professor Paul P. Bosu, Deputy Director-General (DG) of CSIR, noted that adequate knowledge and understanding of various soil types was crucial for sustainable agriculture.

He said CSIR-SRI’s was committed to collaborating with partners to improve upon the available data for a better understanding of Ghana’s soils.

Prof Bosu said by converting soil maps of Ghana from analogue to digital formats and making them available online, “we in CSIR believe that we are on course towards helping the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) build a more modern agricultural system for Ghana.”

Prof Mohammed Moro Buri, a Director at CSIR-SRI, said Ghana had about 18 different soil groups with different characteristics.

He said SRI, over the years, gathered information and data and “sieved out what we think is quite useful for the benefit of society.”

He noted that information generated was used to produce maps in an analogue form, which limited access to the information on the soil.

However, under MAG, SRI had the chance to digitize maps such that access availability would be enhanced.

Mr Eric Asamoah, the Principal Technologist at CSIR-SRI, underscored the need for the country to know the number of fertile soils.

He said soil information was fundamental to successful farming, crop fertilization, formulation of new blends, afforestation, and greener pastures.

“Hence, the need to develop a web-based interactive online platform to ensure accessibility to soil information to enhance proper decision making by farmers, researchers, policymakers, and other stakeholders,” he added.

The SRI is one of the thirteen Institutes of the CSIR.

It is mandated to undertake scientific research to generate technologies and information, commercialize these technologies and build capacity in the sustainable management of Ghana’s soil resources for increased Agriculture, Industry, Environmental Quality, and Improved Livelihood.

The Institute seeks to develop knowledge for the efficient management of soil resources in Ghana.