Soil Initiative for Africa
The Soil Initiative for Africa (SIA) provides a long-term framework to guide investments and efforts to improve the health and resilience of Africa’s soil in all agricultural sub-sectors for the simultaneous benefits of increasing agricultural productivity, improving water availability, increasing agricultural resilience to the effects of climate change and other shocks, turning smallholder and emerging farming systems into profitable rural businesses for sustained livelihoods, supporting commercial farming systems to practice sustainable soil management and contribute their knowledge through technology transfer. Founded in the AU vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena”, the SIA Framework puts particular emphasis on the importance of Africa’s farmers and communities as champions of change and agents of Africa’s agricultural transformation in alignment with national priorities.
The successful implementation of the SIA at different levels (local, national, regional, and continental) would lead to a future for Africa in which: Africa’s soils are healthy and resilient, supported by a robust African-led soil management system with sound institutions, policies, programs, investments, partnerships, and services that supports and empowers land users across Africa to use practices that restore and sustain soil health, improve crop and livestock productivity and income, and reflect national priorities.
The mission and purpose of the SIA is the effective facilitation of sustainable soil management across all agricultural sub-sectors in Africa through strong partnerships with all stakeholders – politicians, practitioners, scientists, public and private entities, civil society, consumers, and land users – and investments at the continental, regional, national, and local levels to ensure an optimized support system of institutions, policies, programs, investments, partnerships, and services.
Abundant information exists to guide soil health practices for all land users across the African continent. The SIA sets the ambition to scale the implementation of science-based and locally adapted sustainable soil management practices and their impacts across Africa by taking a landscape approach to supporting and empowering land users to take ownership of evidence-based adaptive sustainable soil management decisions and solutions for both environmental and sustainable livelihood benefits.
Ambition & Rationale
To scale the implementation of science-based and locally adapted sustainable soil management practices and their impacts across Africa by taking a landscape approach to supporting and empowering land users to take ownership of adaptive sustainable soil management decisions and solutions for both environmental and livelihood benefits.
- Previous initiatives have not led to improvements in soil health at scale in Africa
- There is a need for a new fertilizer summit to foster holistic continental action for sustainable production and use of fertilizer for soil health and agricultural productivity.
- There are outstanding issues that are undermining effective soil health management in Africa;
- Lack of data and (usable) soil information systems to inform decision-making for stakeholders, especially the farmer.
- Limited human resources and scientific infrastructure.
- Lack of resource flows into the soil sub-sector.
- The existing soil initiatives require leadership, cooperation, and coordination. The fragmented nature of soil “initiatives” calls for a new approach whose elements need to include:
- Harnessing existing building blocks to deliver continental goals.
- Identifying key gaps (human resources, educational and scientific infrastructure, and other institutional gaps.
- Developing well-coordinated networks and partnerships to eliminate disjointed efforts and improve effectiveness.
- Developing an implementable, goal-focused, African-owned plan of action
Value Proposition of the SIA
- Generate continental collective action and global solidarity for a soil health management system in Africa.
- Reverse the current scenario of “the whole being less than the sum of the individual parts” by fostering better coordination, cooperation, and leadership
- Put farmer empowerment in the fore front of all soil health goals and recognize the farmers as the key agents and foundational enablers for SIA
- Create a continental dashboard and investment platform to allow for the generation of investible projects and programs in Africa’s soil health sector.
- Put the scaling of science-based soil health practices at the center of SIA. The aim is to achieve the goal of having millions and millions of land users using best practices for soil health.
- Establishes a continental framework entrenched in existing CAADP / Agenda 2063 to facilitate coherence in policies, programs, and investment in soil health across Africa.
- Galvanizes coherent action using the innovation systems approach for service delivery, lesson-learning, business development, and organizations of stakeholders.
- Ensures the inclusion of an action plan to allow for contextualization and national-level implementation in accordance with national priorities.
- Ensures mechanisms that build bridges between policy, research, and implementation on the ground.