Глобальное почвенное партнерство

Using technology to improve access to soil information in Liberia

Access to soil information in Liberia has many challenges due to inadequate available soil data, poor soil data storage/database management, and insufficient data access infrastructure. In 2021, the Government of Liberia and FAO jointly agreed on the need to overcome these challenges and improve the country’s soil information portfolio through a two-year Technical Cooperation Project, titled "Strengthening soil analysis and information systems in Liberia" (TCP/LIR/3804). It is expected that the TCP will promote informed decisions on soil and agriculture management in Liberia. The FAO’s Global Soil Partnerships (GSP) is providing technical support to the project. 


GSP devised the following innovative ways to expedite soil data collection and access to soil information in the country:

1. Gender-inclusive digital soil survey

To reduce drudgery often associated with soil survey, the GSP developed an innovative digital soil survey to expedite soil data collection. The approach tapped into the mobile telephone network in the country, industrious young agronomists, and experienced and renowned soil scientists. It was successfully implemented in Nimba County, which is one of the most agriculturally productive counties in Liberia. Within two weeks, five teams were able to survey 46 profile locations in this vast region. The digital survey enabled central coordination and interaction between teams, troubleshooting and real-time soil description, and quality data collection during the fieldwork. Digital soil survey is one of the tools GSP is developing to promote gender-inclusive rapid soil data collection among partner countries.

2. Digitizing existing soil information and capacity building on digital soil mapping

The TCP project team in Liberia collected and digitized existing soil data, reports, and maps in the country as a major step in consolidating Liberia soil information in one collection. They are also networking with other partners, research institutions, and NGOs to improve the quality of the database of existing soil data in the country. Their effort is complemented by GSP’s technical capacity buildingon soil data and digital soil mapping. The capacity building helps the team to turn around soil data into useful information for proper decisions on sustainable soil management.  

3. Liberia Soil Information System

Soil information system provides a convenient infrastructure to share soil information and promote informed decisions in soil and agriculture management. The shared information is categorized in different levels of detail to accommodate a wide range of users. Liberia joins a growing list of countries the GSP is supporting to develop National Soil Information Systems. The country has started its Liberia Soil Information System (LibSIS), which will host soil data, online advisory on soil testing and sustainable soil management, status of soil resources such as soil property maps, suitability maps, erosion maps, carbon stocks, etc.

Thanks to the implementation of this project, Liberia is making a major step in the assessment and management of their most fertile soils by producing tangible and immediate results with catalytic effect. FAO’s GSP stands ready to support countries in need to establish its national soil information systems!

Check out the Flickr photogallery!

FAO Liberia - TCP | GloSIS - the Global Soil Information System | African Soil Partnership