Soil Health Vital for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

By: Oluwole Fatunbi (FARA)


The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the apex continental technical institution responsible for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research and development initiatives, shared its experiences during a side event at the Africa Union Pavilion during the ongoing Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The event focused on the urgent need to accelerate action in promoting soil health as a crucial strategy for addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation.

During his intervention, the acting Director for Research and Innovation and Innovations Systems Specialist at FARA, Prof Oluwole Fatunbi, emphasized the need for relevant stakeholders to take swift action to combat land degradation in Africa. He highlighted that Africa possesses a remarkable asset, which is 60% of the world’s available arable land for food production. This opportunity underscores the significance of safeguarding and optimizing it. He commended the Africa Union for its leadership in the development and implementation of relevant initiatives for the continent, including the Soil Initiative for Africa (SIA), which is a long-term framework aimed at managing African soil health, as well as the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Action Plan (AFSH-AP), designed as a 10-year implementation plan for the SIA.

He further highlighted the four core pillars of the SIA, which include optimizing integrated soil health and water management planning and implementation; strengthening human, institutional, and social capital for research, development, education, extension, and support of sustainable soil management; optimizing data and information for effective planning and monitoring; and ensuring enabling policy, legal, and regulatory frameworks.

Prof Oluwole noted that these pillars align perfectly with the four outcomes outlined in the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Action Plan (AFSH-AP). He suggested the domestication of actions along the existing and well-established CAADP pathways,  effective leadership and coordination of efforts to prevent duplication, ensure accountability and reporting on progress, and smart implementation considerations and financing as essential principles for implementing the action.

He intimated that the implementation would involve scaling technologies, enhancing farmers’ capacities, promoting systems innovation, communication, and awareness creation, providing incentives for private sector finance for field-level activities, increasing the focus on soil health from African and development partners and developing targeted financing mechanisms.

During her intervention, the Head of the Rural Economy Division in the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission, Dr Edeme Janet, extended an open invitation to all stakeholders to participate in the upcoming Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit scheduled for November 5th – 6th in Nairobi, Kenya. Other notable speakers at the event included Dr. Manyewu Mutamba, the Head of Agriculture at the AUDA-NEPAD, Mr. Stephen Muchiri, CEO of the East Africa Farmers Federation, Per Fredrik Pharo, Director, Department for Climate and Environment, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and others.


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