Events for June 2024

First Regional Workshop on Climate-Smart Soil in Nigeria

First Regional Workshop on Climate-Smart Soil in Nigeria 2560 866 Jamie

First Regional Workshop on Climate-Smart Soil in Nigeria

Soil plays a vital role in the Earth’s ecosystem and earth system functions that support the delivery of primary ecosystem services. Healthy soils are fundamental for food security, mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adaptation towards climate change. Excessive and improper land use leads to erosion, nutrient depletion, and other forms of degradation, which severely affects the productivity of the soils and the potential for mitigating climate change. The majority of the world’s soil resources are in only fair, poor or very poor conditions, with African soils being the most severely degraded.

Delegates discussing information needs for soil action during the First Regional Workshop on Climate Smart Soil in Abuja, Nigeria, 2023.
Opening remarks during the First Regional Workshop on Climate Smart Soil in Abuja, Nigeria 2023.

Improving soil health especially in agricultural lands will help address the problem of degradation. In the last 2 decades, droughts & floods have become regular and more frequent, creating significant challenges for the players in the agricultural value chain, especially the farmers, policy makers, extension workers and donors. Sustainable soil management (SSM) practices have been promoted as the approach for boosting healthy soils to address food security, mitigation, and adaptation challenges. These practices aim to, for example: i) improve the long-term soil fertility and ii) increase soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration. Most of the major players across the agricultural value chain have recognized SOC’s potential and are setting up SOC sequestration-based targets to reduce GHG emissions. However, only a few African countries have proposed specific mitigation programs, most of which are only at the concept stage.

Climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing humans. Warming trends and changes in precipitation patterns, with increase in the frequency of occurrences of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and storms have increasingly severe impacts. Additionally, soil health can influence the impact of these climate changes on crops and agricultural yields. Smallholder farmers that depend on rain-fed agriculture are particularly vulnerable to these changes. Their future livelihoods in terms of food security, health, education, and standard of living in this changing temperature is a growing concern.

The biological, chemical and physical function of ‘soil health’ deteriorates with changing climate due to increasing turnover of soil organic matter, decreasing soil moisture content & soil water capacity, nutrient depletion, increased vulnerability to erosion and other degradation processes, harming soil structure. Climate change is linked to agriculture and especially to soil health as it controls soil vital processes and functions along with having an intrinsic effect on crop productivity which contributes towards food security and sustainability.

According to Nigeria’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) 2021, the AFOLU sector continues to be critical in the move to a low carbon and climate resilient economy. AFOLU is the second largest contributor to total Greenhouse Gas emissions, contributing 25% of national GHG in 2018, Agriculture contributing 62.6% of the 87MtCO2eq. NDC Climate Smart Agriculture plans aim to sustainably increase agricultural production, enhance food security and development using an integrated approach. Thus, there is an opportunity to integrate solutions for improved soil health to support both food security and climate targets in the country.

The African Climate Action Partnership (AfCAP) and the and the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC)  thus held the first regional workshop on climate smart soil in Abuja, Nigeria. The workshop brought together policymakers, scientists, and practitioners to explore the critical nexus between soil health, climate change, and food security. It aimed to promote soil health and address compounding challenges in Nigeria.

To find out more about the workshop, the outcomes and recommendations made during the event see the reports below.

Pathways To Future Agriculture In Africa

Pathways To Future Agriculture In Africa 1920 800 Roy Bouwer

Pathways To Future Agriculture In Africa

Author and Contributors: Phatsimo Rahman (SouthSouthNorth), Roy Bouwer  (SouthSouthNorth), Dr Elliott Dossou-Yovo (Africa Rice Center) 

Illustrated by: Ellen Heydenrych

Agriculture in Africa, particularly smallholder farming, is a sector interwoven with intricate challenges and diverse vulnerabilities. Climate change, alongside market-related shocks and various other risks, constantly tests the resilience of farmers and agricultural systems. In response to these challenges, multifaceted adaptation strategies are emerging as crucial tools for enhancing agricultural sustainability and resilience across various scales.

Exploring Adaptation on Different Scales: Adaptation in agriculture operates on a spectrum of scales, spanning from individual farmers to regional communities. These solutions are devised to mitigate risks posed by a range of factors, including extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, floods, and storms, as well as market dynamics, pests, and conflicts that are prevalent in the agricultural landscape.

Adopting Multi-Scale Strategies: To effectively address the complexities and vulnerabilities faced by farmers and agricultural systems, multifaceted adaptation strategies are paramount. These strategies are designed to operate at multiple scales, incorporating a variety of elements. For instance, combining drought-tolerant seeds with insurance can significantly boost adoption rates. Similarly, integrating farmer training and field schools with policy changes can drive sustainable practices. Moreover, linking social protection measures such as cash or in-kind support with extension services can lead to transformative shifts in agricultural practices.

Farmers need access to a bundle of services across value chains;  Evidence underscores the effectiveness of combining various adaptation approaches. Bundling different strategies amplifies their impact and enhances their ability to address multifaceted challenges. For example, integrating input support with extension services can encourage diversification and the adoption of alternative crops. Similarly, aligning soil and water management practices with a holistic approach at the farm level creates a more resilient agricultural ecosystem.

Unveiling the Vital Role of Healthy Soils in Agricultural Sustainability: A Call for Enhanced Investment and National Commitments

The expansion of agriculture is resulting in the depletion of both soil organic carbon and essential nutrients. Thus, there’s a critical necessity to advocate for sustainable agricultural practices, including conservation agriculture and other viable sustainable approaches. This has become front and center for many African governments as food security becomes an increasingly critical issue due to climate change. Soil health is central to tackling this issue, and African governments are making concerted effort to integrate this into their national policy and NDCs. According to Nigeria’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) 2021, the AFOLU sector continues to be critical in the move to a low carbon and climate resilient economy. The President of Nigeria has raised the issue of food security as a state of emergency, and the country is prioritizing soil health as a critical piece of the puzzle. 

In this light, the country will host a national workshop on climate smart soil, aimed at helping stakeholders understand the Nexus between soil health, food security and climate change, and to explore the important role of to discuss how using soil health as a sustainable tool to help develop frameworks, policies and activities to mitigate and/or adapt to the changing climate to the agricultural system. The workshop is being hosted by the Federal Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the African Climate Action Partnership (AfCAP). The Coalition of Action for Soil Health (COA4SH) has been passionately advocating for the significance of soil health in fostering sustainable agriculture. They are urging governments to endorse the Soil Health Resolution, a series of pledges aimed at promoting and expanding practices that ensure soil health, acknowledging its critical role in helping to adapt to climate change, revive biodiversity, bolster water resilience, elevate food and nutrition security, and preserve both natural and cultural heritage.

During a Africa Climate Week in Nairobi, at a side event on “Supporting food security through low emission long-term strategies”, Dr Elliott Dossou-Yovo from AfricaRice reiterated the paramount importance of fostering robust partnerships in the realm of agricultural transformation. Firstly, collaborative efforts in agricultural research and technology capacity building can drive innovation and enhance knowledge exchange. Secondly, it is imperative to develop pilot business models that prioritize job creation for women and youth, promoting inclusivity and economic growth. Thirdly, research should focus on developing technologies that not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also enhance productivity, while systematic monitoring of emissions can furnish crucial data for evidence-based policymaking. Lastly, creating enabling conditions for widespread technology adoption, including access to extension services and education, is essential for scaling sustainable agricultural practices. Through these interconnected initiatives, we can forge a pathway towards a more sustainable and productive agricultural landscape.

This post was originally posted by The Africa Regional Resilience Hub. The Africa Regional Resilience Hub, led by SouthSouthNorth, is a crucial component of the COP28 Resilience Hub. Along with several other regions, the Regional Hubs work to amplify regional voices to global decision-making spaces, with a particular focus on communities and underrepresented and lesser heard voices. This blog forms a part of the Africa Regional Hubs efforts in this regard. The COP28 Resilience Hub events are all hybrid and allow for virtual attendance and participation. To register for the Resilience Hub virtual platform,  visit their website

Promoting soil health to address compounding challenges in Nigeria

Promoting soil health to address compounding challenges in Nigeria 2560 1707 aflp

Promoting soil health to address compounding challenges in Nigeria

In a proactive move towards promoting soil health in the face of food insecurity and climate change, the African Climate Action Partnership (ACAP) and the National Council on Climate Change (NCCC) recently co-hosted the first regional workshop on climate smart soil in Abuja, Nigeria. The workshop brought together policymakers, scientists, and practioners to explore the critical nexus between soil health, climate change, and food security.

Chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Climate Change, Hon. Chris Nkwonta, providing goodwill messages during opening session at the first regional workshop on climate smart soil in Abuja, Nigeria

The workshop was organised in response to Nigeria’s president, Bola Tinubu’s, declaration of a state of emergency on food security. The event acknowledged the challenges posed by climate change to agriculture, particularly in Nigeria, where vulnerability to climate variability is high. During the two day workshop the need for holistic approaches that address the interconnected issues of soil degradation, changing weather patterns, and their impact on food production were raised.

Dr Salisu Dahiru, the Director General for the National Council on climate Change in Nigeria highlighted the urgency of the situation. “we are faced with sobering realities. Soil degradation, loss of arable land, and declining agricultural productivity pose significant threats to global food security. Climate change exacerbates these challenges further, with extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and unpredictable rainfall patterns wreaking havoc on agricultural systems worldwide. However, amidst these challenges lies an opportunity to recognize the immense potential of healthy soils as a solution to both food security and climate change”.

Delegates discuss knowledge gaps that inhibit further action on soil health during the first regional workshop on climate smart soil in Abuja, Nigeria

The discussions on the first day focused on the interlinkages and global advances being made in understanding the soil-climate-food nexus. This included presentations from leading organisations and initiatives in this field, including ICRAF-CIFOR, the Coalition of Action for Soil Health (CA4SH), and 4per1000. Policy opportunities were also highlighted within the context of Nigeria’s NDC as well as potential synergies between the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD).

The workshop also addressed potential solutions and roadmaps for increasing soil health. Presenters on day 2 focused on methods for measuring soil emissions and mapping soils, solutions for sustainable fertiliser and land use practices as well as decision-support tools for improved soil management. Delegates were also introduced to the Soil Initiative for Africa and the African Fertiliser and Soil Health (AFSH) Action Plans which will be put forward at the African Fertiliser and Soil Health Forum in 2024.

The workshop concluded with discussion on how Nigeria can domesticate the Soil Initiative for Africa and develop their own action plans. Delegates expressed the need to improve cross sectoral collaboration and improvements in data access and analysis capacity as critical to further this action.

The collaborative nature of the event enforced a sense of the shared need to collective take these actions forward. Delegates noted that the event had created a valuable network of stakeholders and there was a need to expand the stakeholders involved to ensure all relevant actors were present. It was noted that it was critical to maintain the momentum from the event and form a technical committee to take this topic forward in Nigeria.

Delegates share their envisioned way forward during the conclusion of the first regional workshop on climate smart soil in Abuja, Nigeria

As the workshop concluded, a sense of optimism and determination prevailed. The exchange of knowledge, experiences, and ideas underscored the potential for strengthening Nigeria’s response to food insecurity and climate change. The NCCC pledged ongoing support for initiatives emerging from the workshop, ensuring that the momentum generated will translate into concrete actions that fortify the intersection of soil health, climate change resilience, and food security in Nigeria.

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