Most soils across Africa are degrading and being lost to erosion. The conventional approach has been to push chemicals to ensure production. Research increasingly reveals that these chemicals contribute to killing soils, as well as causing harm to human health. Unfortunately, corporate and academic interests ensure a continuation of this ‘chemical life support system’.
During the last 50 years an increasing number of alternatives to the mainstream chemical approach have been emerging around the world and across Africa. Climate change, nutrition and research into the microbiology of soils have given increasing credence to what we now call an agroecological approach to soil management. These efforts tend to be dispersed. While networking has improved, there is still not enough joint learning around soil health improvement.
The session brings speakers linked to practical work around soil health through efforts of The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), working in collaboration with the Seed and Knowledge Initiative (SKI) .A network of soil health improvement centres across the continent that work very closely with farmers is emerging. The aim is to encourage trials and learning towards identifying appropriate practices for advocacy purposes. Africa’s nutrition security depends on adopting a very different narrative to the current chemical one.
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