College of Agriculture

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Historical Overview

Following the establishment of the College of Agriculture (CAF) in 1962, the need for a soil research and teaching laboratory to provide scientific information that would enhance agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability was raised. To supplement this issue, a Nominal Soil Lab was established for CAF in Roberts Hall in 1966, which gave birth to the Soil Testing Plant and Water Analysis Laboratory. 

In 1971, CAF was relocated from Roberts’ Hall to its present site (Riverview Campus, Fendall), and through the instrumentality of Dr. U. P. Sue of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the Nominal Soil Lab was re-established at the new site in 1973 with funding from FAO. By 1984, the idea to rebrand the facility to a ‘state of the art’ soil testing laboratory was conceived and a proposal was submitted for the establishment of the SOIL TESTING, PLANT, AND WATER ANALYSES LABORATORY (SPWA) to the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Forestry. In 1986, the University of Liberia and the International Foundation for Sciences (IFS) in Sweden renovated and equipped the SPWAL at Fendall Campus. However, the lab suffered several setbacks including the civil conflict (1989-2003), but appreciation to the Chinese Government who first renovated the building hosting the laboratory immediately after the war. 

In 2017, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) refurbished the old structure of the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) at the College of Agriculture and Forestry to host the soil lab. Additional classrooms were also renovated through the Project Management Unit (PMU) of MoA. The renovation was completed in 2018 with the lab equipped to a modern, standardized laboratory status. In 2021, FAO also supplied and furnished the Lab with additional equipment and reagents through the implementation of the Technical Corporation Program (TCP 3804).

Current Leadership




Asst. Prof. Salia S. Sheriff


Mrs. Rena Kokeh Nuahn



The Soil Testing, Plant, and Water Analysis Laboratory (SPWA) is a research and academic-based laboratory located at the William R. Tolbert, Jr. College of Agriculture and Forestry (WRTCAF) Campus, Riverview, Fendall, Louisiana, Montserrado County. It was established to conduct soil, plant, and water research and teaching through:

Sample Preparation

Chemical Room

Chemical Room


Analysis 2
Chemical Analysis 1
Chemical Analysis 2
Chemical Analysis 3
Chemical Analysis 4
a. Physical Property Analysis of soil
  • Soil Texture
  • Soil Structure
  • Bulk Density
  • Particle Density
  • Soil Porosity
  • Soil Water holding capacity
  • Soil Color
b. Chemical Property Analysis of soil
  • Soil total nitrogen
  • Available Phosphorus
  • Soil pH
  • Soil Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC)
  • Available K, Ca, Mg,
  • Available Sulphur
  • Micronutrient anions (Mo, Cl, Bo)
  • Micronutrient cations (Zn, Fe, Na, Cu)

6. Training and Teaching

8. Research activities

9. Partnerships


  • Modern Distillation Chamber
  • VIS Spectrophotometer
  • Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS)
  • Kjeldahl Distillation
  • Multiparameter Analyzer (pH, EC, TDS & Oxidation-Reduction Potential)
  • Oven
  • Furnace
  • Glassware
  • Centrifuge
  • Sampling Equipment and others

Current Projects and Partnership

The Soil Lab is collaborating with the MoA, and the Central Agricultural Research Institute (CARI) to implement an FAO-funded project, the Technical Corporation Program (TCP 3804). TCP 3804 is aimed at improving soil laboratory capacity in a soil testing laboratory network being established in Liberia. Senior laboratory technicians and managers from the British Geology Survey (BGS) with support from FAO-Liberia trained participants from the University of Liberia (UL), CARI, and MoA. The training was conducted in the following thematic areas: laboratory quality management, health, and safety, reference material production, laboratory systems, physicochemical preparation, and analysis of soil. Additionally, the TCP 3804 was also aimed at training participants in digital soil mapping using Microsoft Excel, RStudio, QGIS, and related software in order to strengthen soil analysis for sustainable management and develop an online soil information system named Liberia Soil Information System, ‘LibSIS that provides accessible, reliable soil data.
The lab is a member of the Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) and the regional African Laboratory Network (AFRILAB) working primarily to ensure harmonized soil testing and analysis to enhance food security and sustainability.

Completed Project

  1. Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP-LIR-3804)

Strengthening soil analysis and information systems to enhance sustainable soil management and support evidence-based decision-making in Liberia- Digital Soil Survey

  1. Arcelor Mittal Biodiversity Conservation Program (BCP)

Soil Fertility Evaluation for Agricultural Production Sites of Arcelor Mittal (AML) Biodiversity Conservation Program (BCP), Nimba County, Liberia

Personnel Capacity

The lab consists of people from different professional backgrounds and fields of study- agriculture, agronomy, chemistry, biology, etc., who are well-equipped and knowledgeable with analytical skills in physical and chemical soil analyses. Workers in the lab hold different positions as per the lab’s organogram, which details the positions of staff within the lab, along with their functions.




1.      Roland Voker

Senior Lab Demonstrator


2.      Stephen Zubah



3.      Ernest S. Barkpalah

Laboratory Technician

4.      Gloria M. Kassay

Laboratory Demonstrator

5.      Tarnue Zaizay

Teaching Assistant

6.      Joylice N. Roberts

Laboratory Technician

7.      Charlene M. Cole

Laboratory Technician

8.      Jacob Crayton

Record Officer


9.      Patrick S. Fayah



Implementing Partners (Local and International)


  • Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Africa Development Bank (AfDB)
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
  • Africa Rice (AR)
  • Conservation International (CI)
  • Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN)
  • China Aid
  • Caritas International


  • Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
  • Central Agriculture Research Institute (CARI)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Current Activities

  • Laboratory Technicians Capacity Building Training
  • Specialized physical and Chemical Analysis:
  • Courses Teaching
  • Student Practical
  • Academic Research Activities


  • Plant and Quality Water Analyses / Photos
Plant and Quality Water Analysis 1
Plant and Quality Water Analysis 2
Plant and Quality Water Analysis 6
Plant and Quality Water Analysis 7
Plant and Quality Water Analysis 9
Plant and Quality Water Analysis 10
Plant and Quality Water Analysis 12

The University of Liberia was founded in 1862 as Liberia College and became a full University in 1951.  It is a public institution funded mainly by the Government of Liberia…. Read More

Contact Us

P.O Box 10-9020, Capitol Hill
1000 Monrovia, 10 Liberia
West Africa

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