Date of Birth: 27th Jan 1932
SOIL SCIENTIST: studies the physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils in relation to their use and management
SOIL TAXONOMY: is a system of classification that tries to group similar soils into general categories
SOIL MANAGEMENT: protects and enhances the performance of soils to enable profitable farming and the preservation of environmental quality
Caribbean Icons in STI Volume 1
Professor Nazeer Ahmad is a world recognised expert on tropical soils. His work has provided the Caribbean and other areas with a better understanding of the properties of their soils, what uses they should be put to, and how they could be managed to support higher crop yields. He was awarded the Gold Medal by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture for his contributions.
Nazeer Ahmad was born on January 27th 1932 in Dundee, Guyana. His days started at 4AM tending livestock and planting crops on his family’s farm. At age nine he learnt from his teacher about fertilisers and soil types to achieve increased crop yields and became interested in learning about soil management.
He attended Novar Canadian Mission School and Berbice High School. After only three years, he gained a grade one pass in the Cambridge School Certificate and attended the imperial College of Tropical Agriculture (ICTA) in Trinidad on a British Guiana Agricultural Scholarship. He graduated with the Diploma in Agriculture (1951) and Postgraduate Associateship (1952) from ICTA. He pursued a MSc in Soil Science at McGill University in Canada and a PhD degree at University of Nottingham in the UK (1957).
Ahmad headed the Division of Agricultural Chemistry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Guyana. He conducted soil and land use surveys to help improve agricultural productivity in Guyana and other parts of the Caribbean and Latin America. His definitive work was published in the book “Soil Genesis and Taxonomy” (1983). He also has 200 publications and contributions to three books.
He joined the School of Agriculture, University of the West Indies (UWI) in 1961. He improved soil research and teaching facilities and built a sophisticated Soil Science Department. He developed a postgraduate school of research and supervised over 100 students. In 1996 he was appointed Professor Emeritus of Soil Science at UWI.
Professor Ahmad was the Director of the National Agricultural Research Institute, Guyana for five years until retirement in 2000. He also served the International Board for Soil Research and Management and the International Society of Soil Science, and was a Fulbright Professor at University of Illinois, USA.
This active consultant enjoys woodwork, auto mechanics, and gardening. He advises children to :”have balance in education choices; a basic science background gives opportunity to be flexible in choosing a career. Use your God-given attributes to the optimum.”