Soil knowledge vital to boosting agricultural production

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

To increase productivity, farmers in Tanzania are being urged to investigate their soils before cultivation and planting, and work with extension officers to incorporate scientific knowledge.

African Seer reports on a recent meeting at the conclusion of the first phase of the Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS), of which the World Agroforestry Centre is a partner. Through AfSIS, detailed digital maps, databases and soil assessments have been produced to help scientists and policymakers make site-specific recommendations for boosting food production.

“Poor soil health is the single most important constraint to food security in sub-Saharan Africa,” says the article, and many farmers in the region suffer from chronically low-yielding crops.

Scientific knowledge is vital to agriculture across Africa, especially with the challenges of a growing population, increasing demand for food and variable climatic conditions.

The AfSIS project aims to assess soils across sub-Saharan Africa, providing a consistent baseline for monitoring soil health. The project will develop digital soil maps of different soil functional properties and establish a soil health surveillance system in SSA, providing evidence-based, spatially explicit soil management recommendations to national research and extension providers of selected countries.

Read the full story: Tanzania: Assess soil potentialities, farmers urged