The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) organized a three-day capacity development workshop on technologies for soil carbon enhancement in African Countries, in partnership with the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF), a CTCN consortium partner. The workshop presented a collection of pertinent technologies and practices intended at enhancing soil carbon and having strong potential for low emission development and climate resilience in several African countries.
Soil carbon is a depleting resource globally, and particularly in Africa. Increasing carbon storage in soils is a solution to improving soil fertility and improving agricultural productivity as well as to decreasing CO2 and mitigating climate change. Agriculture is a prominent topic in country priorities related to climate change, both in adaptation and mitigation, as expressed in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted in the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In March 2017, the analysis found that, out of 162 NDCs, 104 countries intended to make emission reduction in agriculture and 127 countries list agriculture as a priority for adaptation.
While several sustainable practices and technologies have been used to enhance soil carbon, there is a need to further identify the most appropriate technologies and support their wide-scale development in Africa. The workshop brought together representatives from 14 countries, including the National Designated Entities (NDEs) of the CTCN and representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture, senior soil scientists or research officials, for a total of 26 participants from Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The workshop was facilitated by technology Experts from CGIAR Centers/other knowledgeable institutions with a high mastery of the discussion areas.
The workshop aimed at sharing experiences and best practices related to agriculture from around the globe and inspire country’s development programs for greater integration of those technologies into their national efforts in meeting their adaptation and mitigation of climate change.
Specifically, the three main objectives of the workshop were as follow:
- Expose the NDEs and representatives from Ministries of Agriculture to the global carbon cycle, basic concepts of soil carbon sequestration and challenges in enhancing soil carbon storage;
- Present the latest technologies having potential to enhance soil carbon stock in Africa, and provide an overview of the state of art soil carbon monitoring tools and approaches at field, farm, district/province and national levels;
- Discuss possible assistance needed from countries for increasing soil carbon sequestration based on their national climate priorities, especially their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The training covered the following topics:
- Understanding soil carbon: basic concepts of carbon sequestration, challenges in enhancing soil carbon storage
- Technologies having potential to enhance soil carbon stock in Africa: Enhancing inorganic carbon and soil organic carbon (conservation agriculture with and without trees, agroforestry, social forestry, plantation management, potential of genomics for organic carbon sequestration, agroecological approaches - improving vegetation cover, pasture management, cross-slope barriers, mulching, green manuring, crop residues, agroforestry/agricultural residues, organic agriculture (OA)/ micro-dosing, area closures and reserves.
- Advance approaches to monitoring and visualizing soil carbon stock
- Technology adoption, scaling and impacts
- Matching soil enhancement technological potential with country NDC