The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation has made great progress in the past ten 10 years in exploring new and innovative digital soil mapping technologies and national soil information systems (SIS) in Africa and South Asia to help organise new and existing soil information. However, constraints within countries stop the SIS from being sustainable and adaptable. The foundation is now looking for ways to make the SIS more responsive to local demand. CABI is working with partners to identify what intervention approaches have worked, and which have not, which solutions work best and where to take innovation to scale for SIS development. The process will involve engagement with key stakeholders and decision makers in various countries through an iterative process.
70% of Rwanda’s population rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. However, productivity has been severely compromised by a lack of crop and soil-specific fertilizers and soil erosion. Real-time, reliable, soil and agronomy data can inform farmers, helping them to make the best decisions for their land, but this data is currently not shared between stakeholders. The Government’s Rwanda Soil Information Service will provide a centralised resource for in-country actors to better understand the state of soils in Rwanda at a local level. CABI’s integral role will be to lay the foundations of a modern soil information system that will rationalize the costs of obtaining high-quality soils data. Working on the basis of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data principles will ensure that legacy and new investments in soil research maximise their potential and result in better decision-making for Rwandan farmers and their soils.