Soil Health (Fertility) Management

Research Area Soil Health and Fertility

Source: Flickr (treesftf)

Soil is the most basic requirement to grow crops, so it comes as no surprise that unhealthy, depleted soil leads to low crop yields. In Ethiopia, soil depletion is widespread. The current condition of the soil has resulted in stagnant crop yields despite the use of modern inputs—such as enhanced seed and fertilizer.

Following an extensive diagnostic study of Ethiopia’s soil condition, researchers identified six areas in need of immediate attention:

  • Tailor soil fertility management plans according to local soil conditions
  • Replenish the soil with organic carbon resources
  • Implement soil and water conservation measures to reduce topsoil erosion
  • Increase farmer's access to chemical and bio-fertilizers
  • Build a national soil information infrastructure
  • Link with soil fertility experts and projects

Research for Ethiopia's Agriculture Policy and the ATA’s ongoing activities include a project to assess the soil condition of the entire country. Soil specialists are harnessing technologies such as remote sensing, satellite imagery, and spectroscopic readings with a rich collection of soil samples—over 100,000 once sampling has concluded— to create a digital soil map of Ethiopia. Two types of soil sampling are taking place. The first step is to update information on Ethiopia’s soil properties that can help to identify the soils that are best suited for farming and how to best manage them. The second level—focusing on woredas (counties) in Ethiopia’s agricultural belt— is soil fertility sampling, which will show what nutrients have been depleted from the soils. Learn more about the digital soil map and the ongoing work to improve the soil condition of the country.

Read the complete diagnostic review of Ethiopia's soil quality in the report below.

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Related Articles & Publications

Fertilizer and Soil Fertility Potential in Ethiopia

Fertilizer in Ethiopia: An assessment of policies, value chain, and profitability

Samuel Gameda talks about one of the ATA’s flagship projects: EthioSIS

A Recipe for Success: Introducing fertilizer blends to farmers in Ethiopia