Healthy Soil Healthy Food
Soil degradation and erosion in Sub-Saharan Africa is considered one of the root causes of stagnating or declining agricultural productivity and ecosystem services.
Africa imports and promotes the use of expensive chemical farming inputs in a bid to increase production and productivity. However, this extractive form of land use is unsustainable, along with the policies that support it. Monocrop commodity farming using synthetic fertilizers and highly hazardous chemical pesticides destroys the fertility of African soils, polluting waterways, degrading the land while threatening the health of farmers, farm workers and consumers. There is an urgent need for pro-active interventions to arrest and reverse soil degradation.
The Healthy Soil Healthy Food Initiative is establishing and growing an African-wide programme that brings together a variety of satellite points that are working to improve the health of the soil so as to significantly increase the practice by farmers and communities of appropriate practices and techniques.
Healthy Soil Healthy Food has five pillars:
Training and Extension – farmers adopting and adapting the use of innovative techniques for healthy soils and high production of food and income.
A community of practice – 14 centres across 10 countries with the capacity to train, promote and innovate on a variety of organic fertilizers and soil amendments.
Research – gather evidence of the effectiveness of agreocological soil practices through participatory research/community of enquiry.
Advocacy – natural farming being increasingly accepted as the way to produce more and healthier food and resilient communities.
Entrepreneurship – local enterprises/businesses supplying high-quality organic fertilizers and products.
Healthy Soil Healthy Food has four key workstreams:
- Learning & Sharing: To create innovative learning and action within AFSA and allied networks through interactions between food producers, consumers and development practitioners.
- Research: To develop a concept that outlines the direction of this research dimension within the HSHF initiative over the next 3 – 5 years. This concept will give the broad direction from which specific proposals can then be developed.
- Entrepreneurship & Commercialisation: To develop a marketing, sales and communication strategy for the development of the local organic inputs market.
- Curriculum Development & Training Materials: To harmonise and propose a training programme in healthy soil fertility management, and develop appropriate training materials for agroecological production.
Healthy Soil for Healthy Communities – An Introduction to Soil Health Practices for Africa. This illustrated book is “a treasure trove of cutting-edge soil science, soil-improvement practices and farmers’ stories.” Download your free copy here.
Watch a growing collection of videos about Healthy Soil Healthy Food on the AFSA YouTube channel here.
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