Fertile soil is one of the basic building blocks of agricultural productivity. In order for crops to grow properly, soils need to contain the proper nutrients; unfortunately in many areas of the world, soils have become depleted of their nutrients, leading to decreased productivity. A new project in Ethiopia, led by the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), is working to create a national soil database and digital soil map of the country in order to help identify which areas are best suited for farming and which areas need improved management techniques to help replenish their nutrients.

EthioSis, the Ethiopian Soil Information System, looks at soil and vegetation samples from 162 woredas throughout Ethiopia. The project has already provided crucial information, letting researchers know that Ethiopia's soil is deficient in as many as six essential nutrients: boron, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and zinc. This information, combined with the project's planned next step to provide targeted fertilizer blends to address specific nutrient deficiencies, will help the country's policymakers and farmers make better land management and planting decisions.

Read more in the first quarterly edition of the Research for Ethiopia's Agriculture Sector newsletter and subscribe to receive future editions.

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