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Regional News of Friday, 22 May 2015

Source: GNA

African soil specialists confer on soil sustainability

Soil Specialists and other representatives from Africa have converged at Elmina to discuss sustainable soil management for improved food security.

The three-day workshop, is being attended by 45 participants drawn from Ghana, Botswana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa.

The objective of the workshop is to consolidate the AFSP by establishing a steering committee and working groups as per the Regional Soil Partnership guidelines and review and finalize the African Soil Partnership (AFSP) Implantation Plan.

It is also to increase awareness on the fundamental roles of soils for human well-being, food and nutrition security, sustainable development and climate change adaptations and mitigations by celebrating the International Year of Soil (IYS).

It is being organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisations (FAO) under its Global Soil Partnership in line with the declaration of 2015 as the IYS at the 68th session of the UN General Assembly.

This year was declared as the IYS with the overall goal of being a major platform for raising awareness of the importance of soil in terms of food security, nutrition and essential ecosystem.

The African Soil Partnership was launched in 2013 to discuss priorities for promoting sustainable soil management as well as research priorities for development.

Delivering a keynote address at the opening of the workshop on Wednesday, Mr Bukar Tijani, Assistant Director General and Regional Representative of the FAO, Africa Office, said soil is essential for man and there is the need to sustain it.

He said though the AFSP is in the sub-region, its presence in terms of dealing with soil related issues is not strong and expressed the need for stocktaking of the progress made in soil sustainability.

He said even though research conducted by various soil specialists in the sub-region is good, it is through closer partnership and sharing of ideas that their goal could be achieved.

Dr Francis Tetteh, President of the Soil Science Society of Ghana, said a good understanding of farming starts from a good understanding of soil and expressed worry that poor policies and poor management had contributed to low fertility of soil in some African countries.