Improving Liberia's Soil for Sustainability
"Our soil is rich,” “The soil is a bank,” “Get back to the soil!” These are common slogans by Liberians and some agricultural institutions in appreciating support for agricultural productivity in this tiny coastal West African nation which is indeed endowed with immense natural resources including gold, diamond, iron ore, and other forest resources.
Contrary to these assertions, our soils are not naturally rich. Without sustainable management based on the geochemical nature of these soils, our soils are particularly inadequate for the production of food crops, including our staple food – rice.
Soil reconnaissance conducted in the past shows that ferralsols, soils with lower fertility, are the dominant soil type across Liberia. The country’s lush vegetation and tropical rain forests may make these findings seem unbelievable, but the facts remain that soil deterioration, the continuous cultivation of soils without replacing nutrients lost is a major feature of agricultural activities in Liberia.
However, the good news is that proper and sustainable management of these soils could yield optimum results.