Category: News

Soil nutrient maps of Sub-Saharan Africa: assessment of soil nutrient content at 250 m spatial resolution using machine learning

by | November 30, 2017

Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 109: 77-102 Springer

State of the Planet Blog: Pictures Worth a Thousand Words: How Satellite Imagery is Improving Agriculture in Developing Countries

by | February 24, 2017 | 2 Comments

Rapid, low-cost technologies generate high-value soils information for planners and farmers

by | October 7, 2016

By Keith Shepherd Soil samples awaiting infrared scanning at the CGIAR’s Soil-Plant Spectral Diagnostic Laboratory based at ICRAF. Photo by Keith Shepherd/ICRAF A big, risky decision for smallholder farmers is what type and how much fertilizer to apply to their crops. There is lot of uncertainty about how the crops will respond, with a risk […]

Scientists use technology to shine a light on Africa’s farms

by | October 7, 2016 | 2 Comments

October 6, 2016 By Ed Sulzberger, Tiff Harris and Keith Shepherd Nairobi, Kenya – Portuguese explorers began mapping the African coastline in the 15th century in an effort to dominate the international spice trade. Those early maps, though crude, had a profound effect on Africa’s history and the wellbeing of her people. Today, a new […]

Addressing nutrient deficiencies in African soils

by | February 1, 2014

The World Agroforestry Centre’s Soil-Plant Spectral Diagnostics Laboratory has launched a new Plant Environment Facility to support screening of soils for crop nutritional deficiencies. The facility is funded by the Finland government under its programme Improving Food Security in West and East Africa through Capacity Building in Research and Information Dissemination – Food Africa, implemented […]

Use case: “Make agro-input recommendations”

by | December 18, 2013

Use case summary in context The document describes the steps for recommending agro-inputs (e.g., seed, fertilizers, lime and organic matter) in smallholder farming systems, based on site, cropping system and time specific information and decision analyses. The ultimate goal is to assist individual farmers and/or farmer groups adjust their site-specific input applications to reduce their […]


by | September 20, 2012

Continued Collaboration in Ethiopia to Build a National Soil System AfSIS partners in Ethiopia, the Agriculture Transformation Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture, have made great progress in the past few months. The Ethiopian Soil Information Service (EthioSIS) operations team, supported by AfSIS staff, has nearly completed the roll out of the soil surveying teams. […]

Gathering and Transmitting Data with New Methods

by | September 20, 2012

Using Mobile Data Collection Tools for Field Data Collection AfSIS is assisting national agencies in Africa with developing end-to-end soil information systems, which can be continuously updated with both ground-based and remote sensing observations and measurements. One important emerging system includes the use of mobile and sensor technologies for field data collection. This works leverages […]

Analyzing Africa’s Soils Using Spectroscopy

by | September 20, 2012

Using the latest technology to screen soil health Significant progress is being made in analyzing soil and plant samples collected from the AfSIS sentinel sites, with over 17,000 samples being received since the project began. Of this, 70% of the samples have been characterized with infrared spectroscopy and reference methods. After harmonization and quality checks, […]

Decades of Soil Surveys Becoming an Online Tool

by | March 30, 2012

Africa Soil Profiles Database includes profiles for 37 countries Significant progress has been made in collecting legacy soil profile data for sub-Saharan Africa. This effort draws on decades of soil survey campaigns in Africa, converting the legacy profile data into formats that link to the digital platforms developed for AfSIS. The Africa Soil Profiles Database […]