wfpA4I hosted a side event at the World Food Prize ‘No Ordinary Matter: A Prelude to A Montpellier Panel Report on Enhancing Africa’s Soils’ on Thursday the 16th of October 2014. Soils are primarily responsible for providing water and nutrients to crops and animals. When unable to provide these services to their full capacity, crops, animals and the farmers who depend on them suffer. The reverse is also true. Restoring, conserving and enhancing soils can improve crop productivity and the resource base on which farmers depend. As a natural resource however, soil is undervalued and neglected both physically and politically. Land degradation now affects an estimated one-third of the earth’s land area and 3.2 billion people. Developing countries and smallholder farmers are affected most severely.

Experts from the Montpellier Panel and soil sciences discuss why soil must become a global priority – from the Sustainable Development Goals to CAADP plans – and why integrated soil management for the 21st century must embrace sustainable intensification to produce climate smart soils.

Speakers included;

Gordon Conway, Director of Agriculture for Impact and Professor of International Development, Imperial College London

Ruth O’Niango, Editor-in-Chief and Founder of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND)

Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center, Ohio State University

Ramadjita Tabo, Director, Regional Hub West and Central Africa, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

Jerry Glover, Senior Sustainable Agricultural Systems Advisor, USAID