However, the increasing population has changed the dynamics over the years where food sufficiency has become an herculean task for even the farmers as the work towards achieving zero hunger is enormous. Productivity has also been on the decline where the roles of the different agricultural players have become very difficult compared to decades ago. Low productivity at the primary level has been a life-long issue in the agricultural sector, especially in developing countries. Therefore, to increase productivity, one of the important issues to address is the SOIL asides other issues like input quality, production practices amongst others. This is because soil is an important component that naturally contains some essential nutrients and characteristics that support crop growth and development.

Interestingly, soil is a support medium that provides easy leverage for agricultural productivity and food security. Sadly, due to exploitative farming activities, our soil has been very poor, weak and deficient in important nutrients as the culture of caring for the soil is fast disappearing due to the increasing pressure of food production. In recent times, poor practices have contributed to the poor nature of the soil, mainly through bush burning, where degradation is being observed, coupled with the impact of climate change that affects the soil structure, leaving the soil dried and very porous with scarce available nutrients and hardly has there been strategic measures to improve it. Worse still, application of fertilizers are done without prior knowledge of the soil needs. This is largely due to poor awareness of the need for soil test, unavailability of reliable soil laboratory for soil test and the high cost of carrying out soil test, which discourages farmers, resulting in self-help. Thus, the trial by error model is being implemented every season, and the soil components become weak, unattractive and less productive.

There is a need to develop a working system to address the issue of soil degradation, by adopting rapid soil tests for smallholder farmers, where youths are empowered and can provide such service and provide recommended fertilizer usage that is suitable for the soil. Furthermore, there is a need to establish a standard soil test laboratory at strategic locations for comprehensive soil tests, which should be affordable and accessible. In addition, agricultural stakeholders need to promote private agricultural extension companies to help sensitize farmers on the danger of indiscriminate usage of fertilizers on the soil which could be a bigger threat to the ecosystem and adopt improved and sustainable practices that conserve and sustain the use of the soil. In conclusion, a dead soil is of no good to neither the farmer nor the people, but a living and healthy soil is the only hope for a bountiful harvest and source of stability to the ecosystem. So, as we embrace zero hunger to be a reality, let us be proactive and ensure that our soil is rich enough to support this reality.