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    Project
    Support to the Promotion of Conservation Agriculture and Integrated Pest Management for Sustained Soil Fertility and Productivity - TCP/GHA/3701 2023
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    The degradation of soils, which are the foundation of agrifood systems, is alarming in sub Saharan Africa, which is already facing continued population growth that increases pressure on scarce natural resources Soil in Ghana is becoming low in nutrients, fragile and exposed to adverse natural and environmental pressures In addition, unsustainable farming systems on marginal lands and the overuse of chemical fertilizers and misuse of pesticides have led to declining soil fertility and contamination of the natural environment, rendering soils unproductive and negatively affecting livelihoods Smallholder agriculture, especially in the northern part of the country, is characterized by natural production with low access to productive assets, information and technical skills, low level of implementation of modern technologies and mechanization, small farm sizes, lack of productive infrastructures and rural finance institutions Moreover, subsistence farmers are the most exposed to climate change and price volatility Conservation Agriculture ( has proven to be a viable approach that contributes to improved and sustainable productivity, environmental protection and climate change adaptation It aims to improve soil productivity and conservation and includes practices that combine integrated management of soil, water and agricultural resources to boost food production Despite the potential benefits, implementation of CA, Integrated Pest Management ( and other Climate Smart Agriculture ( practices by smallholders remains low Previous experience with these types of interventions in Ghana showed a lack of evidence based interventions, know how on appropriate technologies to use and access to appropriate and locally designed tools and affordable equipment Smallholder households were identified as slow adopters of CA There is also the need to introduce the benefits of IPM to farmers to minimize the use of chemicals in foods As such, this project aimed to improve production systems and strengthen resilient livelihoods by using a climate smart approach as well as dealing with issues affecting agriculture management of natural resources The project targeted smallholder food crop farm families who are the most vulnerable with limited access to markets and credit The issues to be addressed were the degradation of natural resources due to inappropriate farming practices and population growth, improper use of agrochemicals in farming, a lack of organizational capacity to deal with climate change impacts at the community leveI inadequate access to resources and negligible or no access to information on good agricultural practices and climate change impacts.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Improving soil fertility in Africa 1971
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    This FAO Soils Bulletin is gathering a selected number of papers prepared for a Conference organized in Africa on improving soil fertility in Africa. The main purpose of the Conference was to discuss developments and requirements in the field of soil fertility, fertilizer use and soil development in Africa and to provide fresh ideas and lines of action for future work. There were 58 participants from most of the African countries and from various countries and organization from outside Africa. T he technical part of the Agenda included the following items: Soils and plants, responses of crops to fertilizers on farmers fields and research stations, fertilizers economics, FAO standard guide to soil fertility investigations, fertilizer materials, fertilizer supply, fertilizer use development programmes and policies, stabilization of soils and agriculture in areas of shifting cultivation, planning of soil fertility and fertilizer use development programmes.
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    Meeting
    Regional Implementation Plan for the African Soil Partnership 2016
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    Land, or soil, is the main resource base for many people in Sub-Saharan Africa, and is especially important for the rural population. With an estimated population growth for SSA from the current 900 million to 1.4 billion in 2030, the region’s soils will experience increasing pressure as a natural resource to provide for the needs of its people. With an estimated 65% of arable lands, 30% of grazing land and 20% of forests already degraded in Africa, the region has the potential to position itsel f as champion in terms of increasing food production and security, achieving land restoration, and increasing agricultural resilience to climate change. Sustainable soil management is vital to achieving these goals and, for this reason, is one of the cornerstones of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP). The African Soil Partnership caters for the Sub-Saharan Africa which includes 45 African countries. The AfSP Implementation Plan is based on regional priorities in terms of the Pillar recommendation s in their respective Plans of Action. This document is the product of a collaborative effort, mostly via email, involving participants from the two sub-regional launch events, as well as later participants in digital soil mapping training, representatives from regional institutions involved as partners and, finally, national GSP focal points as nominated by the respective country representatives. The main challenges associated with sustainable soil management in SSA were identified as:  Inade quate capacity, knowledge and experience to plan and implement SSM and optimally manage, mitigate and monitor the productive and degradation status of the soils; especially under intensive cultivation.  Where regional and national SSM policies exist, financing is often not a priority and/or implementation can be ineffective due to a lack of political will or a lack of implementation capacity. In many countries, policies regulating soil use are lacking.  Soil information/data at national level is often inadequate, outdated, not in digital format and not georeferenced. Data availability is further restricted by intellectual property often held by private institutions that are not willing to share data for national use, or data needs to be paid for prior to use.  Lack of national or umbrella organizations leading the campaign to promote and create awareness of SSM.  Weak linkages between researchers, farmers and extension services to optimize information exchange. Addressing these cha llenges and increasing SSM implementation encompasses various aspects that are crucial to its success. Under the five Pillars of the GSP, the various components of sustainable soil management can be addressed and managed to enable a holistic approach to improved soil management for long term soil protection while simultaneously providing for human livelihoods. In SSA, crop production often occurs on already underperforming and poor quality soils using poor management practices and low use of ext ernal inputs. Over time, this leads to further decreases in soil quality, degradation of soil resources and resultant declines in food production and quality. The region’s soils are especially vulnerable to degradation, especially in drier climates. During the launch workshop of the African Soil Partnership, most countries reported the occurrence of both chemical and physical soil degradation which leads to low soil productivity and yield gaps in many countries 4 which in turn leads to fo od imports. The development of SSM solutions should not only consider the implementation environment, site specific characteristics and the necessary enabling environment, but also the causes of improper soil management to date in order to develop cause-driven rather than symptom-driven solutions. This Implementation Plan sets out the road map for the next 5 years to achieve SSM over the longer term and includes a large number of outputs and activities which are considered priority in this first phase of establishing the AfSP. It is envisaged that funding for these activities will be secured by capitalizing on existing in-country initiatives and activities, as well as by actively sourcing additional external funding. Since the GSP is a voluntary initiative, it calls for the strong support of national governments, as well as national and regional entities involved in natural resource management to contribute to achieving the common goal of improved and sustainable soil management. Under Pillar 1 (Promote sustainable management of soil resources and improved global governance for soil protection and sustainable productivity) the implementation plan proposes that soil degradation and restoration hotspots, as well as soil potential for agriculture be mapped for major agro-ecological zones. This will enable the identification of priority areas for SSM implementation to be initiated under this plan. A SSM implementation monitoring system is further proposed to measure success of SS M initiatives and monitor the status of the soil resources. Under Pillar 2 (Encourage investment, technical cooperation, policy, education, awareness and extension in soil) it is proposed that SSM partner platforms be established to foster awareness and investment towards SSM implementation. To build soil science capacity, a regional tertiary soil science training exchange programme is proposed to increase the number of soil scientists trained at tertiary level. In addition, it is proposed that soil science education be included at secondary school level to educate learners from a young age about the importance of soil. The importance of soil extension services is highlighted, as well as the need for region-specific policy recommendations to support SSM development and implementation. Pillar 3 (Promote targeted soil research and development focusing on identified gaps, priorities, and synergies with related productive, environmental, and social development actions) focuses on soil rese arch for development. Under this Pillar it is proposed that an African Soil Research for Development Platform be established to bring soil research for development partners. Its main aim is to align efforts and resources towards improving the management of soil fertility and soil health, increasing productivity while protecting the soil resources and restoring productivity on degraded soils. This would include identifying soil-related research gaps and establishing regional research working grou ps to collaboratively address on these gaps. Under Pillar 4 (Enhance the quantity and quality of soil data and information: data collection [generation], analysis, validation, reporting, monitoring and integration with other disciplines) addresses the need for soil data and information to support decision making and monitoring. The implementation plan proposes that an inventory be developed of all soil and related data in the region and an African soil database be developed and maintained. Train ing in digital soil mapping is proposed to increase soil mapping capacity in an effort to produce new and updated maps for the region. Under Pillar 5 (Harmonisation of methods, measurements and indicators for the sustainable management and protection of soil resources) the implementation plan calls for the development of 5 a harmonization procedure for soil classification and soil description. In addition, it proposes that regional reference laboratories be identified and supported to en able soil analysis towards increasing national and regional soil data. Outcomes and activities are presented in separate log frames per Pillar, along with the associated budgets and time frames. Since the GSP is a voluntary initiative, it calls for the strong support of national governments, as well as national and regional entities involved in natural resource management to contribute to achieving the common goal of improved and sustainable soil management. The list of outputs may be considered optimistic, considering the 5-year timeline, but it is the view of the AfSP that these outputs are essential to moving forward towards achieving SSM in the region over the longer term. The aim of this implementation plan is therefore to solicit buy-in, support and active participation from additional partners to increase collaboration in soil management activities

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