Some Notes About African
Soil Information System
Prof. Tekalign Mamo, Senior Director and Program Leader,
Agricultural Commercialization Clusters (ACC) and Ethiopian Soil
Information System (EthioSIS)
Agricultural Transformation Agency
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Presentation made at COP 22
Nov. 2016 , Marrakech
Major Types of Existing African Soil
Examples from different (regional, national)
Major types of Existing Soil Information
• Soil profile Physico-chemical database
• Soil classification maps (global, regional, country
• Soil fertility data (Wet chemistry and Spectral)
Recent Efforts and Actors
• Individual country initiatives such as SA, Ethiopia,
Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, etc.
• International efforts to produce Africa soil maps and
data (FAO, ISRIC, etc.).
• Africa–focused initiative in soil resource mapping by
AfSIS (not suited for fertilizer recommendation).
• Stakeholder-assisted efforts such as what is being
attempted by OCP in several African countries.
• Efforts being made by private soil testing companies
(CNLS, Soil Cares, etc).
Africa Soil Profiles Database
(http://africasoils.net ; http://www.isric.org)
@18,532 unique Soil profile records (93%
are geo-referenced) for 40 countries.
Standardized and cleaned.
Soil analytical data are available for 15,564
profiles (of which 91% are geo-referenced).
Some individual countries also own
fragmented soil profile information for
Leenaars J.G.B., A.J.M. van Oostrum and M. Ruiperez Gonzalez, 2014. Africa Soil Profiles Database, version 1.2. A
compilation of geo-referenced and standardised legacy soil profile data for Sub-Saharan Africa (with dataset). ISRIC report
2014/01. Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) project. ISRIC – World Soil Information, Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Soil Spectral Lab Network in Africa (Source: ICRAF, 2016
• Ethiopia (ATA and 6 soil labs)
• ICRAF, Nairobi, Kenya
• IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria
• IITA, Yaounde, Cameroon
• IAR, Zaria, Nigeria
• Obafemi Awolowo University,
• KARI, Nairobi, Kenya
• CNRA, Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire
• IAMM, Mozambique
• AfSIS, Sotuba, Mali
• AfSIS, Salien, Tanzania
• AfSIS, Chitedze, Malawi
• CNLS, Nairobi, Kenya
• Eggerton University, Kenya
• MoA, Liberia
• IER, Arusha Tanzania
• FMARD, Nigeria
• NIFOR, Nigeria
• Soil Cares, Kenya (Mobile labs)
Soil Classification Maps: FAO Africa
Examples from OCP’s initiatives:
West African countries
Cotton Maize Rice Horticulture
• Siguiri kouroussa
Training Soil fertility map Laboratory
40 Guinean are formed, of which 18
managerial staff are trained in
Morocco (SIG, Horticulture,
Awareness of small producers)
Pilot area of 100 000 ha in
Equipment of 3 soil analysis laboratories
& Mobile laboratory)
Ministry of Agriculture and
Ministry of Agriculture Guinea Research institute
1200 beneficiary farmers
Cotton Rice HorticultureMaize
13 cocoa regions covered
1141 beneficiary farmers
2015 5 steps
11 Agricultural caravans in Morocco
Soil Fertility Map
• 14 operational regions
• 26, 000 sample analysis are
• 237 days of training and
extension of the rational
use of fertilizers for the
benefit of 14 544 farmers
• 100 agricultural
• 72 trials demonstrating
new NPK formulas
adapted to soils and
• 3 OCP caravans
• 272 days of training
and extension of the
rational and reasoned
• 84 agricultural
• 129 trials
NPK formulas adapted
to soils and crops
• 3 OCP caravans
Launch soil fertility map for
5 other African countries
• Africa does not have a consolidated and up-to-date
regional soil information database; this is also a problem
at country level.
• If countries have such information, it is fragmented and
not holistic, thus making it difficult to feed into African
soil database or even use as legacy data.
• While frequent efforts are there to generate soil
information by stakeholders, they are not coordinated to
enhance meaningful output (such as guiding the
fertilizer advisory package at national level) and cost
• Lack of apex institutions at both regional and country
levels greatly contributes to the problem.
• The policy body lacks up-to-date knowledge or information
about soil being a non-renewable resource that is facing
danger of extinction (E,g. Ethiopia wouldn’t have thought
about launching EthioSIS without the establishment of the
Ethiopian Agricultural transformation Agency, ATA).
• Africa cannot afford to ignore its soils since 95% of the
food we eat grows on soils and we need to leave healthy
soil for the future generation.
• Professionals have the responsibility to continuously knock
on the door of the policy body to get heard.
‘’The Soil should no more be a hidden and