OCP Africa has asked a consortium consisting of ISRIC -World Soil Information, Wageningen University & Research, and the Nutrient Management Institute, in cooperation with AfricaRice, to cooperate with OCP Africa in the development of site and crop-specific fertilizer formulations for important crops and agro-ecosystems in Sub-Saharan Africa. To achieve this, it was agreed that, as a result of a longer term cooperation, the consortium will ultimately develop a broadly applicable soil fertility and crop nutrient management platform, that can be used to produce maps of fertilizer recommendations for Sub-Saharan Africa based on nutrient gap analyses for specific crops in specific areas.
The consortium will develop and test targeted fertilizer recommendations for irrigated rice in Mali and Senegal to assess the feasibility of the methodology and to provide a proof-of-concept.
Fertilizer recommendations will be developed using (semi-) mechanistic agronomic models and machine learning techniques together with new and existing field data. This will be done in collaboration with Office du Niger and IER in Mali, and SAED and ISRA in Senegal. This will enable project partners to derive crop and site-specific fertilizer formulations, which can then be used to produce targeted, area and crop specific fertilizers. The improved fertilizer formulations will be tested in on-farm field trials. The fertilizer recommendations themselves and the scientific methods used to develop them will be evaluated based on the resulting data.
The soil sampling campaign was conducted in 2018 after which the samples where analysed by ICRAF in Kenya.
The modelling framework itself was prepared and testedf in 2018. Initial fertilizer recommendations will be sent to OCP once the new field data become available in early 2019. This will provide the basis for the validation trials.
Funding for the project is provided by the OCP Group.