Global experts call for enhanced soil data collection in Africa
NAIROBI, June 3 – A group of international experts on Thursday called for updating soil data in Africa as a means to transform food production systems in the continent.
Speaking during a virtual forum in Nairobi, Rik van den Bosch, director of Netherlands-based World Soil Information (ISRIC) said that Africa required the latest information in order to boost the management of its soils.
Bosch called for compiling of current and up-to-date soil data in the continent, adding that the existing data is obsolete.
Yemi Akinbamijo, executive director of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) said the pace of soil degradation in the continent is worrying, adding that urgent interventions were required to reverse the trend.
Akinbamijo called for the adoption of conservation agriculture and agroforestry in order to boost soil health in Africa and strengthen climate resilience among rural communities.
He said that with new modalities of having healthy soils, African nations are in a position to drive food sustainability and meet the needs of a growing population.
Lydia Chabala, a lecturer at the University of Zambia called for structured soil information for use by key stakeholders including farmers and agronomists.
Chabala urged African nations to apply a mixer of agricultural models that are in a position to meet the growing demand for food.
Marta Iglesias, senior policy officer at the European Commission said that with 60 percent of arable land, Africa stands to become food secure once soil health is accorded prominence.
Iglesias said that African nations should embark on changing the state of soil erosion, pollution and biodiversity loss through citizen engagement.
The international experts called for the development of a harmonized online soil information system among African states, adding that big data is key to transform soil conservation in the continent.
According to the experts, the adoption of Geographic Information System (GIS) software, Global Positioning System (GPS), remote sensing and drones will boost access to updated soil information among key stakeholders. Enditem