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Sharing soil health approaches June 2017

Welcome to our second e-newsletter. Here we look back over things you may have missed in the last two month.

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Please note that we have a new new address – you can now follow us on Twitter at ASHC_soilhealth. Please also share any content of this newsletter you feel deserves a wider audience.

Developing campaigns and materials

April & May saw strong work to develop campaigns in West Africa ahead of the new planting season. We are working with partners to promote improved Soybean production with integrated Soil fertility approaches in both Ghana and Nigeria. The West Africa campaigns are very different from the ones in East Africa – there is a different media mix with more film and stronger partnerships with private sector input suppliers. The research being done by the Gender And Legume Alliance (GALA) team will help us to understand what works in different contexts. We are also especially interested in how different gender groups – especially women farmers and younger farmers respond to the information.

We also welcomed colleagues from some large-scale agronomy projects to find out about the SILT approach.  

Cropping guides now cover 7 crops (30 May 2017 news) Three new ISFM system cropping guides have been produced by CABI-ASHC, covering sweetpotato, groundnut and maize-legumes. This brings the total of guides available to download to 7 – the others being coffee:banana; sorghum & millet; rice and cassava.

Seed production for African indigenous vegetablesOFRA bookCountrywise Ghana filmingsweetpotato guidegroundnut guide

Scaling-up soybean: “Mother-Baby” demos (7 April 2017 blog) The SILT delivery team shares work from FIPs-Africa to create over 2,000 on farm soybean demos in Tanzania

Optimizing fertilizer use in East & Southern Africa (28 March 2017 news) download the information on fertilizer and ISFM, based on the research from the 8 participating OFRA countries in East and Southern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, TanzaniaUganda & Zambia 

Optimizing fertilizer use in West Africa (30 March 2017 news) download the information on fertilizer and ISFM, based on the research from the 5 participating OFRA countries in West Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger & Nigeria

ISFM library proves popular (3 April 2017 news) In the last month the ISFM materials library has grown –  it now shares 472 different materials. The new titles have also seen an increase in the downloads.

African Indigenous Vegetables Training Kit shared (1 April 2017 news) Our colleagues from the Good Seed Initiative project have produced what they call a module training set on the production of 9 African indigenous vegetables and seed.

Film distribution for ‘all the farming family’ (11 April blog) ASHC has partnered with Countrywise Ghana to produce and distribute a film on soybean farming. Countrywise is our partner because they too are passionate about film distribution.

Banana agronomy in Uganda (25 April news) The ASHC team is delighted to be invited to the launch of the Banana Agronomy Project in Kampala, Uganda on 27 April 2017

Developing input and output markets

Another significant change that we are working more effectively with private sector partners with the supply chain to ensure access to the inputs required in the different technologies. Whilst information is essential, alone it is not sufficient to deliver sustainable change in farming systems. We are also developing much more systematic approaches to monitoring and evaluation.

Ghana: Fertilizer guidance draws in private sector (20 April blog) Harrison Rware, from the OFRA implementation team, writes a research brief published by OFRA partners in Ghana, the Soil Research Institute (CSIR-SRI), recommends a new approach to fertilizer production and distribution

Sharing lessons from research on communication and value chains

We are committed to shortening the lead time to share the findings from ASHC. Our colleagues at the OFRA project are in the closing phase of this leg of the research – this means that they are starting to share some very useful insights from a project that has been working in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.  

1,000+ scientists trained in fertilizer optimization (22 May 2017 news) OFRA: The training session for scientists in Nigeria last week, means the Optimizing Fertilizer Recommendations for Africa (OFRA) team has trained more than 1,000 scientists from 13 countries in Eastern and Western Africa, on fertilizer optimization approach.

2,450 Extension agents learn fertilizer optimization (20 May 2017 news)  OFRA: More extension workers can now use the fertilizer optimization approach to advise farmers on more efficient and profitable use of fertilizer in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the awareness raising and capacity building initiatives of the CABI-led Optimizing Fertilizer Recommendations in Africa (OFRA) project.

Intra-household survey – Tanzania (4 April 2017 blog) Silvia Silvestri, GALA project manager, notes the GALA delivery team has been trying to understand how households in Tanzania obtained and share information on farming practices. The intra-household survey will help us to understand the effectiveness of different communication approaches and which currently change attitude and behaviour.

How do soybean farmers get information? (11 April 2011 news) At the end of March the GALA team travelled to Tamale in Northern Ghana to help deliver training on data collection to 10 enumerators.

Meet the team

UPTAKE: Stephanie on scale-up & climate change (5 April 2017 blog) Stephanie Gakuo project manages the UPTAKE project developing ICT solutions support maize, potato and cassava farmers in Tanzania, she explains how the project is developing…

OFRA: Martin Macharia talks soil, data, blends and apps (12 April blog) Martin from the OFRA team brings us up to-date with developments in fertilizer optimization project

ASHC/OFRA Christine Alokit: Bananas, veg & a fertilizer film (27 April blog) Christine Alokit explains how she has worked with ASHC and OFRA on bananas, indigenous vegetables and fertilizer recommendations