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.
This project is a first step to achieve that goal. In this project the consortium will develop and test targeted fertilizer recommendations for irrigated rice in Mali and Senegal, using the scientific methods that will be used in the envisaged platform. In this way the project will assess the feasibility of the methods and provide a proof of concept.
The fertilizer recommendations will be developed using (semi-) mechanistic agronomic models and machine learning techniques together with new and existing field data, in collaboration with Office de Niger and IER in Mali, and SAED and ISRA in Senegal. This enables the 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.
Currently the soil sampling campaign is prepared and will start in November/December 2017. The modelling framework is being prepared at the moment so we can supply the fertilizer recommendations quickly when the new field data are available.