Strengthening African capacity in soil geochemistry

This consortium of researchers in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and the UK is working on strengthening African capacity in soil geochemistry to inform agricultural and health policies.

Lay summary

Understanding soil geochemistry is essential for supporting policies in agriculture, such as advice on liming and nutrient management, and public health, such as identifying regions at risk of micro-nutrient deficiencies and toxicities. At present, the capture and integration of soil geochemical data across multiple scales has not been achieved in sub-Saharan Africa due to gaps in research capacity. 

The aim of this project is to strengthen research capacity in soil geochemistry in sub-Saharan Africa.

To understand more about the research carried out in this consortium, read about the work of the PhD students supported through the RS-DFID ACBI:

  • Muneta Grace Manzeke, University of Zimbabwe, contributed to a case study produced for UN International Day for Women and Girls in Science 2018.
  • Belinda Kapembwa, Zambia Agricultural Research Institute, contributed to a case study produced for the UNESCO World Science Day for Peace and Development 2018.

Researchers, including PhD students, from all consortium partners contributed to a case study for UN World Food Day 2019.

Proposed benefits to researchers and institutions

  • Strengthen the capacity of existing African research leaders in the government and university sectors to collaborate at national, regional and international scales through improved resourcing and increased scientific visibility
  • Strengthen African government and university sectors by training staff in skills which will contribute to national scientific and analytical capabilities
  • Link government and university sectors in all partner countries so that PhD training will have a strong policy context, providing reciprocal strengthening to  research sectors in Africa and in the UK
  • Develop international partnerships with UK-based scientists and obtain a greater understanding of tropical soil geochemical processes

Proposed benefits of research to society

  • Reduce poverty and hunger
  • Reduce the number of deaths and illnesses due to chronic micronutrient deficiencies such as zinc, iron, iodine, calcium and selenium
  • Improve decision support tools for agriculture, such as liming, nutrient management and organic residue incorporation strategies, and public health, by identifying regions at risk of micro-nutrient deficiencies and toxicities