Assessment of Soil Health in Africa



Deadline: October 8th, 2024

Grant: €7,000,000

Expected Outcome

Activities under this topic will advance the international dimension of the Mission ‘A Soil Deal for Europe’ and contribute to its specific objectives, in particular objective 4 “reduce soil pollution and enhance restoration”. Activities will also contribute to the EU-Africa Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture, African Union strategies, initiatives and action plans relevant for soil health and support global commitments and SDGs, in particular in the areas of sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security, biodiversity, and climate.

Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:

  • Enhanced and accessible data for policy makers and intergovernmental organisations to inform a continental ‘convergence of evidence’ map that indicates areas in Africa that are likely to be affected by soil degradation processes (as has been implemented for Europe with the EUSO Soil Health Dashboard).
  • Enhanced access to knowledge that can be used by a wide range of stakeholders to inform soil and land management policies and practices, prioritize areas for intervention and research and development, and support improved advisory services for farmers in Africa.
  • Improved datasets are available on soil threats/properties which will contribute to the development of an interactive Soil Health Dashboard for Africa.


Africa has a large degree of degraded soils, suboptimal land use, population growth and increasingly urban population. These factors are contributing to increased competition and pressures on land (less land per farmer, less quality land per farmer, climate change, biodiversity loss) resulting in unfavourable economics of farming and ecosystem management.

The IPBES report on land degradation and restoration [1] highlights huge economic cost of land and soil degradation, including increasing cost of no action. Soil health is key to climate change adaptation and mitigation. Therefore, holistic systems approaches are needed for addressing multiple context specific soil health related challenges at country and regional level. In addition, evidence driven analytical framework is urgently needed for adequate soil health priority setting and planning at regional and national level, alignment of partners and investments.

Proposed activities should:

  • Develop a scalable Africa-wide soil health dashboard, building on the experience of the EUSO Soil health dashboard, leveraging existing data (e.g., Africa Soil Information System AfSIS [2]) and other EU funded projects such as Soils 4 Africa.
  • Strategic collection of new data to fill soil knowledge gaps (such as pollution, compaction, biodiversity, nutrient status, acidity/acidification, soil organic matter, soil erosion, soil water) and improve the accuracy and functionality of the dashboard through consultative engagement with national stakeholders.
  • Identify critical local/regional thresholds for key soil health descriptors.
    Develop roadmaps to highlight trends in soil health responses to policy instruments.
    Support participating African countries in the development of national soil health strategies in at least 8 countries, to better manage soil resources for agriculture and the environment. In developing the strategies, projects should create use cases and provide training opportunities for the interpretation and use of data.
  • Proposals should demonstrate a route towards open access, longevity, sustainability and interoperability of knowledge and outputs through close collaboration with the Joint Research Centre’s EU Soil Observatory (EUSO) and SoilWISE and ensure interoperability between the dashboard and other databases (such as national soil information services or the Horizon 2020 project Soils4Africa).

Proposals should include a dedicated task and appropriate resources to build on the work of Soils4Africa and other projects on soil information that are being funded by other entities (e.g., ICARDA), including philanthropic organisations, particularly where there is geographical or thematic complementarity. The Consortium is invited to propose a long-term sustainability plan for the dashboard in Africa.

While having a focus on Africa, activities could tap into international expertise (particularly from Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) as deemed necessary.

Read more about this funding opportunity here