Soils are the basis of agriculture and play a critical role in agricultural production as they provide the medium upon which crops can grow. Yet, during the past few decades, focus on the importance of soils has diminished, coupled with harsh man-made and natural conditions that have resulted in soil erosion and soil nutrient mining.
With the loss of soil and biodiversity, our ability to grow food crops and graze animals diminishes as does our ability to produce fiber. ICBA's soil management interventions focus on all operations, practices and treatments used to protect soil and enhance it at the national and farm levels. This is especially true for marginal environments where soils are prone to severe land degradation due to the ecological and climatic environments in which they are found.
ICBA works on gathering and generating scientific soil information that is critical to understanding the health of the soils, the constraints and stresses to soil quality, and the salinity development process. These data are then used to develop land-use master-plans, environmental monitoring, environmental impact assessment, soil conservation and enhancements, as well as land degradation assessment and reclamation programs.
Soil management practices that improve soil quality in marginal lands is an on-going priority for ICBA scientists as these efforts ensure favorable soil moisture conditions. ICBA focuses on improving agricultural soil properties using soil amendments to enhance water and nutrient use efficiency for crop production in dry lands and assessing efficiency via remote sensing techniques. These field optimization studies on soil microflora and management systems at ICBA, improve soil quality and fertility using solid waste and increase farmer's income.
In view of the critical role that soil plays in the pursuit of food and nutrition security coupled with the diminishing awareness among people of the critical role soil plays in national development and food security, ICBA is pursuing the establishment of a soil museum. The aim for the soil museum is to become the educational hub for soil information in the region and an active medium for raising awareness, appreciation and understanding of soils and our role in its preservation and enhancement.