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African countries gain expertise in Digital Soil Mapping

Building sustainable soil management capacity as International Year of Soils rolls out

19/03/2015

FAO Africa's Head grants laptop to participants at Digital Soils Mapping Workshop, Accra, Ghana | 17 March 2015 (FAO Photo)The African Soil Partnership was launched through workshops held in Accra, Ghana and Nairobi, Kenya in 2013. During these workshops, the representatives of the African countries presented their priorities in terms of actions to promote sustainable soil management. A common gap was identified in terms of improving the availability of updated soil data and information for supporting decision taking in relation to soil management. Capacity development in this area was identified as priority in the region. 

To this end, with the support of the European Commission, the GSP has made efforts in order to respond to this demand by providing a Capacity Development Programme on digital soil mapping in Western and Central African countries (16-27 March 2015 - Accra, Ghana), and Eastern and Southern Africa countries (23-27 February 2015 and 13-17 October 2014 -Nairobi, Kenya).

This programme majorly aims at building the capacity of participants using the state of the art technology on digital soil mapping to bridge the gap in terms of improving the availability of updated, quantitative and reliable soil data and information for supporting decision making in relation to sustainable soil management.

Commenting on the training programme, Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, Deputy Regional Representative and FAO Representative in Ghana said: “This training, organized by the Global Soil Partnership and funded by the European Commission aims to build capacity of soil professionals in Africa and equipping them with the methods and tools needed to better understanding of our soils". “Not only are our experts trained, but they are also provided with sophisticated computers with the state of the art software so that they become immediately operational in using the acquired knowledge upon returning to their home countries,” Dr Thiombiano added.

Mr. Ronald Vargas, Soils Officer and Secretary of the GSP also mentioned that “as part of the International Year of Soils celebration, the African Soil Partnership will also convene a workshop bringing all focal points from Africa to agree in their soil priorities and develop their regional implementation plan”.

Soils specialists will be expected to use the knowledge acquired to meet several of their countries’ needs, including for agriculture development, contributing, with other inputs, to increased agriculture productivity, and resulting in better food security.

The participating countries are Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, South Africa, Lesotho, Congo, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, Angola, Botswana.

Training material

Workshop facilitator  Christian Thine, Nairobi, Kenya | 23 February 2015

Participants from various countries at the workshop, Nairobi, Kenya | 23 February 2015