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Saving Africaís Soils:
Science and technology for improved soil management in Africa


NEPAD, World Agroforestry Centre, CIAT, TSBF

2007

SARPN acknowledges NEPAD as a source of this document: www.nepadst.org
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Summary

Scientific research has contributed greatly to the improvement of agricultural practices in Africa; but despite the availability of high-yield and pest-resistant varieties of major crops, there is still a huge gap between the potential provided by this germplasm and the reality of farming yields (the yield gap), leaving Africa a long way from food sufficiency. The most important reasons for this are the continentís degraded soils and lack of investment in adequate soil management. Furthermore, the impact of soil degradation goes beyond food deficits, as soil is also relevant to other human needs as a regulator of water availability and quality, of greenhouse gases which affect the climate, and of the natural enemies of pests and diseases.

Research partners in Africa have a good record in developing the means to combat these threats. Improved understanding of cause and effect, leading to technological innovation, has provided successful soil management strategies in many locations. But these have been scattered and short-lived for a variety of scientific, economic, institutional and political reasons. This document examines the scientific and technological requirements for redressing these failures and for scaling up the widespread adoption of the use of soil management practices to conquer both the yield gap and environmental damage. It also addresses the necessary scientific and technical capacity required to achieve this, while recognizing that a supportive economic and political framework is essential for the investment in science and technology to succeed.



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