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90pc of land is acidic

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

ABOUT 90 per cent of agricultural land in Fiji is acidic, says head of sales and marketing for Basic Industries Sai Tokalau.

Speaking at the Agricultural Limestone workshop in Labasa yesterday, Mr Tokalau said acidic soil had adverse effects on agriculture's contribution to the country's economy.

Mr Tokalau added that acidic soil could be caused by many factors.

"Acidity maybe caused by the overall nature of the soil as some soils tend to be acidic naturally," he said.

"It can also be caused by the excessive use of fertiliser which is a common cause for soil acidity in the country.

"Soil acidity may also be caused by leaching processes such as washing away of topsoil by rain or flooding."

Mr Tokalau said the normal soil pH — which is a measure for alkalinity or acidity — for plants to survive in are 5.5 to 6.5 but most of the soils in the country do not achieve this pH.

"Most agricultural lands in Labasa were acidic meaning that they lay between the pH of 3.9 to 4.9.

"There is a chance to resolve soil acidity by adding lime to soil and we are here to spread the good news that there is an option to addressing the issue.

"High soil acidity is a cause for low productivity and we are concerned about farmers involved in the sugarcane industry."

Mr Tokalau said 12 extension officers would be tasked with assisting farmers for free-of-charge soil testing to determine the acidity of their soils.

"Farmers determined to have their farm soil tested should contact their nearest agricultural, FDB or FSC office."

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