Enhancing the contribution of the legumes to the Nfertility of soils of the semi-arid zone of Nigeria
This paper attempts to focus attention on the N-fertility status of soils of the semi-arid zone of Nigeria. This is because, the region harbours a significant proportion of the national population figure, 75% of which is engaged in crop farming and animal keeping. These economic activities depend heavily on the soil resources available in the region. The first section, therefore, is a concise review of the general fertility status of the soils found in the region. This is followed by a section covering the position of legumes in the farming systems practiced by the semi-arid farmer. The role of the legumes as potential contributors to the N-economy of soils of the semi-arid zone is then highlighted. The need to develop appropriate technologies towards enhancing the contribution of legumes to the N-economy of the semiarid soils is also advocated. The paper concludes with a call on microbial physiologists, geneticists and ecologists in concert with soil and plant scientists to rise to the challenge.
Key words. Legumes, Rhizobium, seed inoculants, N-economy.