Expert imparts skills to boost crop yields


Dr Mussadak advising technicians and field officers on the best techniques for increasing soil fertility and crop yields

Dr Janat Mussaddak, an agronomist with 20 years’ experience in soil, water and nutrient management, was at the Seychelles Agricultural Agency’s research centre, Anse Boileau, on Friday to advise technicians and field officers on the best techniques for increasing soil fertility and crop yields.

Accompanied by the agency’s principal officer, he also met representatives of the Seychelles Farmers’ Association and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is coordinating the programme.

It has been estimated that of the total 6,000 hectares of land which can potentially be used for agriculture, half consists of red earth which is acidic ferralitic and some 1,300 are alkaline and sandy. Both are types of soil deficient in macro and micro elements which are essential for optimum plant growth and development.

This means that precise analytical laboratory results are essential to ensure that fertilisers are applied in correct amounts to alleviate the deficiencies and ensure plant growth.

Dr Mussaddak said it is also important that the correct amount of water and nutrients be used to avoid wastage and also ensure that chemicals do not filter into the water table. 

“It is essential to know when to apply nutrients to the soil and how much to apply,” he said, noting that “spoon feeding” or gradual fertilisation is recommended.

Dr Mussadak also advised against applying chemical fertilisers with high nitrogen content to crops on hill sides, especially during the rainy season.

“They just get washed down and end up in a river or water source,” he said.
The programme will run for three years and is presently in the equipment procurement, training and research stages.

Three officials of the agricultural agency completed a three-month course in soil management techniques in Syria last year.  A fourth technician is scheduled to travel to Turkey in October for similar training.

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