Farmers’ knowledge about their soils and their management constitutes a complex wisdom system, which if integrated with modern soil science, could provide the necessary synergy for sustainable agricultural development. A field work was undertaken in parts of Kaduna State to ascertain the indigenous knowledge of farmers and compared it with scientific classification of the same soils. The farmers used non-taxonomic classification with two levels of classification, topography or position in the landscape and inherent fertility as the first classifiers, while soil colour, surface characteristics and texture were the second. Overall, the indigenous classification used morphological and physical properties of the surface horizon as their main diagnostic attributes. In the Jagindi site, farmers were able to classify the soil units into Tudu Jar-Kasa and Tudu Yunbu for the soil units JD1 and JD2 respectively while the seasonally flooded unit; JD3 was classified as Fadama, an indigenous soil name that has been found acceptable in scientific literature. Correlation would be easier with the World Reference Base (WRB) system, which also place emphasis on morphological properties observable in the field as shown by the chromic subgroup in WRB and Jar (red) in the indigenous classification of soil unit JD1. The indigenous classification scheme in the study areas, though simple, was adequate in most cases in grouping soils into classes that could be managed using similar management practices, re-emphasizing the use-oriented nature of indigenous classification. For sustainable development in the study areas and to improve communication between the scientists, the extension agents and the farmers, it is suggested that local soil name be integrated into the soil map legend.
Key words: Conventional soil survey, Fadama, indigenous knowledge, Nigeria.
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