FAO Regional Office for Africa

Western and Central African countries gain expertise in Digital Soil Mapping

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

FAO Africa's Head grants laptop to participants at Digital Soils Mapping Workshop (FAO Photo)

17 March 2015, Dodowa, Ghana- Experts from 21 countries from Central and West Africa will be trained in Dodowa, Ghana, in a 12-day Training workshop on Digital Soil Mapping for Western and Central African countries.

The workshop, organized by FAO from 16-27 March 20, follows a similar one for East and Southern Africa, last year, in Nairobi, Kenya.

It 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.

Opening the workshop the FAO Regional Representative for Africa Mr Bukar Tijani said soils are fundamental for a number of crucial life functions and are the fundamental of food production. He added however that there is a misconception that healthy and fertile soils are everywhere.

“Our recent findings show us that one third of our soils globally are facing moderate to severe degradation, affecting productivityof the one billion smallholders who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods as well as the commecial farming and forest sector”, he remarked.

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.

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.

Workshop contributes to strengthen African Soil Partnership

Since the establishment of the Global Soil Partnership (GSP) in 2012, significant progress has been made in launching regional soil partnerships.

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.

So far, the GSP has made efforts in order to respond to this demand by providing a Capacity Development Programme on digital soil mapping.

Mr Ruhiza Boroto, Senior Water Resources Officer at the Regional Office for Africa added:  ‘This training on Digital Soil Mapping is timely as it is held in 2015; the International Year of Soils which will is being celebrated throughout the world with various activities.”

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”.

In addition to these events, FAO will publish later this year a special edition of its flagship magazine, Nature & Fauna, which will be dedicated to soils.

The publication will coincide with the 7th International Conference of the Africa Soil Science Society to be held in Ouagadougou from 25 October to 1 November 2015 and will include a field trip from Burkina Faso to Ghana.


Link: http://www.fao.org/soils-2015/en/



David Youngs


FAO Ghana Office

Email : [email protected]


Liliane Kambirigi


FAO Regional Office

[email protected]