The characteristics of the soil in every area depends on its vegetation and climatic zone. In different regions of the country, the level of humidity that affects fertility, soil reactions and productivity tends to differ; the land in wet territories will certainly be different from those in the dry savanna or forest. Let's discuss the types of soil in Nigeria and their differences.
Soil classification in Nigeria
In accordance with the generally accepted classification, the following varieties are distinguished:
All these options have different potentials and benefit for the agricultural economy.
None of the types of soil in Nigeria can be considered first class (soil with the highest productivity level). About 48% of the soil are under 4 - 5 classes with insufficient moisture retention and low content of organic substances. The most fertile ones are the ferrazoles, which can be found in the dry northern territories.
Classification based on soil properties:
- Good: fluvisols, gleysols, regosols. Only 5.52% of soils found in Nigeria fall under this category.
- Medium: lixisols, cambisols, luvisols, nitosols. 46.45% of soils found in Nigeria fall under this category.
- Low - Others.
READ ALSO: History of crude oil in Nigeria
Classification according to climatic zones
Since the composition and properties of the soil depend a lot on climate, this classification is worth knowing. In total, four different groups can be distinguished based on this:
Northern zone - sandy soils
These soils are formed as a result of droughts, wind impacts and sand that has undergone metamorphosis for a long time. This process began when the Sahara Desert advanced several kilometers to the south of the present border. Thanks to this soil, Nigerians can grow sorghum and millet.
This sandy soil is mostly found in Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna. Its lightness and looseness are well suited for planting crops. Leaching does not occur to a large extent on sandy soil, so it is ideal for growing peanuts.
In the south of Kaduna you will find soil formed from forest soil and granite as a result of the north wind. In fact, such mixtures are not sandy, they are loamy and perfect for cotton crop.
Inner territory - laterite soils
Here we can find mostly gray/black clay and sand. They are flooded seasonally, sticky, not well diluted by water and has low fertility. When forests are eliminated in such areas, the soil becomes even less fertile and has little agricultural value.
When the soil comes to the surface, it becomes stout and solid like a brick. This is a good option for building walls and laying roads; but for agricultural purposes, it is better to choose another territory.
South belt - forest soils
This is a tropical area with long rainy seasons and dense forest cover. The characteristics of the soil depends to a great extent on litter materials. Thanks to the forest soil, cocoa, rubber and palm oil which play important roles in the growth of the agricultural sector in Nigeria, can be obtained.
Favorable zones for the formation of such a soil are the coasts, flooded places and deltas. This territory extends to the internal coastal zones and the valleys of the rivers Benue and Niger. They depend little on climate and vegetation, and more on the presence of a parent rock; they are also mostly freshwater formations of gray-white sands, sandy clay and gray clay. Also, there are brown-black saline soils of mangrove type with a litter of rootlets.
In addition to the above-mentioned classifications, another one has been created that relates to management objectives. There are 4 groups in total:
1. Soils with a rich base and with savanna vegetation
These are pastures formed as a result of eruptions, volcanic reactions, metamorphosis and accumulation of precipitation. The parent material usually determines their chemical characteristics. These soils are suitable for growing grains.
They contain little organic substances, phosphorus and nitrogen; such soils need to be diligently cultivated with special attention given to ensuring the presence of sufficient light.
2. Semi-arid zones of the tropics
The base is saturated because of forest plants. The parental material here is the same as in the previous case, the difference is a greater intensity of precipitation, thanks to this, more organic substances of good quality are formed. The period of cultivation of this land can reach up to 2 years until the soil loses the properties of nitrogen fertilizer. Tracing elements are rarely set here. The soil is easily destroyed, with water erosion being the most common culprit. Mulching is necessary in order to cope with this problem.
3. Soils with an unsaturated base formed in the humid tropics and containing vegetation
This zone is characterized by problems related to nutrients, acidity and trace elements. There is not enough phosphorus, potassium and magnesium to maintain high yields so it is very important to keep the toxicity in an adequate range.
This zone is suitable for growing plants with little solar radiation, for example, rice, potatoes, herbs and legumes. With proper management this soil can be used advantageously and bring useful fertilizers.
4. Semi-arid territory
The formation of soil in this zone is largely associated with Aeolian sand. As a rule, these are young soils. Such regions have a good basic value, sometimes they are disposed of before use and harvest can be improved by irrigation.
A good knowledge of the different properties of soils in Nigeria can aid the proper use of them. It is extremely important to understand this aspect for the correct distribution of plant cultures in different territories, successful increase of crop growth and fertility to achieve better harvests for domestic use and export sales.