ISRIC welcomes Ethiopian guest researcher Ashenafi A. Abduljelil

22 May 2023

Ashenafi Ali A. (third from right) supervising fieldwork in Libo Kemikem wereda, South Gondar, Ethiopia with colleagues from ISRIC, Ministry of Agriculture, and BENEFIT-REALISE soil surveyors in 2020.


In April, ISRIC – World Soil Information welcomed guest researcher to Wageningen, Ashenafi Ali Abduljelil, a PhD candidate with Addis Ababa University. His research focuses on how make use of Ethiopia’s legacy soil profile data collected over previous decades but not always easily available to researchers and the public. He is particularly focused on development of operational multilayer soil property maps for improved soil and crop management in Ethiopia.

Ashenafi is passionate about soil data, insisting that data must be shared in order to avoid duplicating existing work and so that results of publicly-funded research are widely accessible.

Soil data is a valuable public resource that needs to be shared. ~Ashenafi Ali Abduljelil

"In Ethiopia, the Coalition of the Willing with joint support from the Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT as well as GIZ are creating awareness that soil data is a valuable public resource that needs to be shared,” Ashenafi explained. "We are also advocating for institutional and policy environments which enable data sharing."


Ashenafi Ali A. (middle) carrying out fieldwork in Ethiopia.


The fieldwork took place in the cultivated "rib" plains, around Addis Zemene area in Libo Kemikem wereda, South Gondar, Ethiopia.


His time at ISRIC is supported by the Climate Food and Farming Network and the Global Research Alliance (CLIFF GRADS) scholarship. CLIFF – GRADS is a program of the CGIAR Research Program on Low-Emission Food Systems and annually awards these scholarships.



While at ISRIC, Ashenafi is supervised by senior soil scientist Johan Leenaars. Over the years Johan has collaborated with many soil scientists in Ethiopia through programs such as Realising Sustainable Agricultural Livelihood Security in Ethiopia (BENEFIT-REALISE)

“When compiling the Africa soil profiles database, Ashenafi was the first person who contributed legacy data,” Johan said. "The recent compilation of the Ethiopia soil profiles database with the Coalition of the Willing, with legacy data for over 15,000 profiles, is a highly appreciated effort and will serve as important input to generating national soil information covering effective soil depth."


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