Can Africa afford to save its soils?

Photo credit: CGIAR

Planting white beans in Ethiopia

Photo Credit: Georgina Smith / CIAT


We asked, you answered: Can Africa afford to save its soils?

Deborah Bossio’s blog post on the question “Can Africa afford to save its soils?” has generated an interesting discussion on the LinkedIn group Natural Resource Professionals. Here we highlight some of the points brought up by those across the world who contributed to the discussion.

The general consensus holds that soil rehabilitation in Africa (and elsewhere) is absolutely necessary, but the process of reaching a decent level of soil fertility is problematic due to the various players involved – from policymakers to agribusinesses to the smallholder farms, everyone holds a different agenda when comes to the importance of improving soils.

Or as one commenter put it: “efforts towards restoring the degraded soils and farm lands in African countries needs a holistic approach. Agricultural policies should be fine-tuned towards better practices for production.”

Many voiced that the responsibility often times falls on the smallholder farmer who may not be able to bear the investment – the burden of time, effort, and cost – needed to improve their soil’s fertility, especially through organic means (i. e. the subsistence farmer).

Read the full article: CGIAR


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.