Strengthening the Capacity for Dissemination of Integrated Soil Fertility Management Technologies in East and Southern Africa


24 Mar 2015

2014 Annual Interpretive Summary

Over the last five decades, research trials have demonstrated opportunities for doubling and tripling yields of both cereals and legumes when appropriate Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) technologies are used in locations where they are best suited. Despite the potential of ISFM technologies to improve crop productivity in SSA, adoption by farmers has remained low. The driving challenges include poor integration of existing knowledge and lack of effective knowledge products for farmers, extension agents, policy makers and other stakeholders. In recognition of IPNI leadership in plant nutrition research and development, AGRA provided a US$2 million grant to IPNI to establish and backstop a soil health consortia in eight countries in Eastern and Southern Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Zambia) with a focus on building partnerships of key agricultural stakeholders to drive the processes of: 1) integration and harmonization of ISFM information at the country and regional level, 2) development of regional level and country level databases for agronomic information, and 3) development of effective communication products to support farmers and policy makers to make informed decisions on investment in ISFM technologies.
    By the end of the first project year (2013), the consortia had a membership of 100 institutions and 1000 individual members. In the second year, the consortia membership expanded to about 200 institutions and 2000 individuals. The consortia partnerships have grown to include key government policy-making groups, fertilizer dealers, seed producers, National Agriculture Research Service management groups, and university administration within the eight countries. In 2014, the consortia supported the government of Malawi to develop the Fertilizer Recommendation and Use Status, Gaps and Opportunities report. The Kenyan government is using the consortia soil health policy documents to drive agricultural policy in respect to supporting the fertilizer subsidy program. Further, the project has developed a series of ISFM communication materials covering the right use of fertilizer based on 4R Nutrient Stewardship, improved seed varieties, and use of organic resources. A comprehensive database for collation and synthesis of ISFM data has been developed and used to capture data from 10,000 publications. These activities and outputs of the project were presented to a global audience during the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) conference and the AGRF board identified the soil health consortia model as one of the best models that should be adopted for driving Africa agricultural production forward. The project has also supported dissemination of ISFM technologies through national newspapers and TV and radio programs. The project website: was also developed and launched to provide a platform for releasing the project outputs to all the stakeholders.