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


14 May 2018

2017 Annual Interpretive Summary

Despite the potential of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) technologies to improve crop productivity in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), adoption by farmers has been very limited. The underlying challenges include poor integration of existing knowledge and lack of effective knowledge products for farmers, extension agents and policy makers. Recognizing IPNI’s leadership role in plant nutrition research, development and partnership development, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) awarded a significant grant to IPNI to establish and backstop a soil health consortia of eight countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Zambia). The objectives of the project were: 1) harmonization of ISFM information at the country and regional level; 2) development of a regional database for agronomic information; and 3) develop communication products to support farmers and policy makers to make informed decisions on investment in ISFM technologies.

Soil health consortia have been established in the eight countries bringing together extension workers, researchers, fertilizer and seed input suppliers, and plant and soil laboratories. Currently, the consortia has a membership of over 200 institutions and 2,000 individuals. The consortia are integrated at the regional level to allow the flow of information on the best agricultural practices and agricultural innovations across the countries. More than 10,000 published and raw datasets have been collected and collated, and one-stop repositories for agricultural and ISFM information established for each country. The materials held in these repositories include information on soil fertility management, best management practices for different crops and geographies, soil maps, policy documents, guides for agricultural extension agents, and training modules. The consortia has also developed a range of communication products which include policy briefs, extension guidelines, manuals and books of abstracts that have been distributed to over 100,000 stakeholders. Between 2014 and 2017, the consortia reached over 6 million people with different packages of agricultural information.

In 2017, the project was refocused to support the fertilizer industry. IPNI established the Fertilizer Industry Research and Development Forum in partnership with AFAP, AGRA, and Columbia University to organize high level fertilizer and nutrient management knowledge sharing workshops. The forum supported the networking and capacity development of local, regional and international fertilizer companies in Africa. It also provided an opportunity for IPNI to promote widespread use of the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship and the Nutrient Expert® decision support tools through the fertilizer industry.