8 August 2013 – Over the summer, CABI announced its involvement in an exciting, 13-country project called Optimising Fertiliser Recommendations for Africa (OFRA). CABI is acting as contract holder and the African Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) is responsible for the project’s communications. This month, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which will carry out the research aspects of the programme, travelled to Africa to initiate the work.

The project’s participating countries include Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Project funding is $5.65 million.

In Africa, crop yields can often be increased two- to three-fold with very modest levels of fertiliser, giving smallholders a much better financial return for their agricultural investment. By 2016, the OFRA project aims to make fertiliser optimisation recommendations to all 13 countries covering priority cereal-legume cropping systems. The cereal crops will consist of maize, sorghum, pearl and finger millet, teff and rice. The legumes covered will include beans, groundnuts, soybean, pigeonpea, chickpea and cowpea.