Land suitability evaluation for oil palm production in Cross River State, Nigeria
The properties of soils in an area are defined by the interaction between lithology and other factors of soil formation. Of the five factors of soil formation, climate is most important in the control of the distribution of crops in Nigeria, and oil palm is not an exception. The study was carried out to evaluate the suitability of land in Cross River State for oil palm production, and make appropriate soil management recommendations for improved production. Eight slope transitions were identified and two soil profile pits were sunk in each transition. Sixteen profile pits were used for the study. Currently, the well-drained high elevation soils are moderately suitable (S2) for oil palm cultivation; however, most of the well-drained soils in the higher elevation ranges in the southern agricultural zone are potentially highly suitable (S1). The central and southern agricultural zones are more suitable for oil palm cultivation. The poorly drained and low elevation areas in the three zones are not economical for the cultivation of oil palm and should be put to the cultivation of sugar cane and paddy rice.