The Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) will be reviewing the regional soil data of East African countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda, and sharing it internationally.
The project will delve into how effective soil management has been thus far, and if so, what can be done to make it more beneficial.
The soil analysis will stretch between three and five years, and will be used to update global data initiatives like the World Soil Information Service soil profile database and the Global Soil Information System.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $1.07 million to the project, which aims to explore prospects for mainstream national soil information service programmes through the FAO’s Global Soil Laboratory Network initiative. Also called GLOSAN, the network was established in 2017 to “to build and strengthen the capacity of laboratories in soil analysis and to respond to the need for harmonising soil analytical data”, according to the official FAO website.
Improving soil health and food security
“The results of the research will help us to appreciate how national contexts, and decisions that were made during their development, affected the success of the various SIS interventions,” said Martin Parr, CABI’s director of data policy and practice.
The project will dig deeper into existing capacities, data, legal and political contexts in a few countries to find solutions for possible soil system interventions. CABI received a $1.49 million grant in 2019 to help the foundation improve food security in India and Ethiopia by improving access to data on soil health, agronomy and fertilisers.
“We aim to learn how different practices have led to the current state of SIS. We want to understand especially where SIS have or are starting to move beyond being data repositories to becoming truly actionable systems. We’ll be looking to understand how soils information does or does not inform national policies, strategic planning, agronomic management, input supply, etc,” added Ruthie Musker, CABI programme manager.