location Focus countries for the project are Ghana, Tanzania, Mozambique and Mali date January 2011 – June 2014 CABI project team George Oduor Dannie Romney Lydia Wairegi Abigael Mchana Jane Asaba
African soil health consortium
Production of good quality crops in Africa not only benefits the farmers, in terms of income, but also the population in general.
so what’s the problem? Poor soil fertility is a key constraint to improving farm productivity and farmer livelihoods in sub-saharan Africa. This problem could be addressed through the use of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) techniques, which promote efficient and effective use of mineral fertilizer, organic inputs and improved seed varieties combined with good agronomic practices.
what is this project doing? The project supports on-going initiatives in the region which work to introduce and implement ISFM but often lack extension information and decision support tools that meet the needs of their target audiences, who include extension workers and smallholder farmers. More broadly, the African Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) is addressing the need to improve knowledge on ISFM at all levels of society in both public and private sectors from policy makers to university lecturers and input suppliers in order for ISFM to contribute to improved livelihoods. The project involves the development of a number of ‘knowledge products’ which range from policy briefs, to handbooks, videos and extension materials on ISFM and their promotion, so that stakeholders have the information they need on ISFM to make the right soil decisions.
KNOWLEDGE FOR LIFE
By 2014 the ASHC will have supported four main audiences in the following ways: • smallholder farmers will improve their livelihoods through increased awareness of integrated soil fertility management techniques using information developed by the consortium • extension workers in the public and private sector will access high quality integrated soil fertility management information to improve cropping systems in sub-saharan Africa. • policy makers in sub-saharan Africa will recognise and take account of integrated soil fertility management principles in policy making it easier for smallholders and others to use these techniques The project is being implemented under the guidance of a Technical Advisory Group (TAG), comprising individuals who have played a key role in research and implementation of ISFM in sub-Saharan Africa. This group oversee the production of the communications outputs to ensure they reflect good quality science. The project is focussing on communications materials for the maize-legume, lowland rice, sorghum millet-cowpea, banana-coffee and cassava cropping systems.
results so far The project has held initial workshops in Mali and Tanzania to work with researchers to build their capacity to develop effective communications materials in the future and to support them with the development of a number of specific pieces. The project team is now working on these materials in conjunction with the in country partners to finalise them. Two videos outlining the value and principles of ISFM have been produced for policy and wider extension worker audiences and they are now available through the website www.cabi.org/ashc The project’s Integrated Soil Fertility Management handbook – which is for extension workers and covers broad research subjects like soil fertility assessment, nutrient and crop management, nutrient sources and farming systems analysis – is now almost complete and will be promoted widely across sub-saharan Africa.
www.cabi.org/soilhealth partners Alliance for Green Revolution Africa (AGRA) African Soil Information Service (AfSIS) International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) CGIAR Centres sponsors The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
contact CABI, ICRAF Complex, United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, PO Box 633-00621, Nairobi, Kenya T: +254 20 72 24450 F: +254 20 71 22150 E: email@example.com www.cabi.org/africa
George Oduor, Project Manager