African soils have huge importance for food security and sustainable development, both for the continent and the world. However, some 40% are already degraded. This impacts negatively on food production and leads to soil erosion, which in turn contributes to desertification. This is especially concerning since 83% of people in sub-Saharan African depend on the land for their livelihoods.
It is estimated that by 2050 food production will have to increase almost 100% to feed Africa’s future population. How can agriculture in Africa meet this goal while not continuing the trend of adopting sustainable practices?
Part of the answer lies in regenerative agriculture, and one solution is the use of agricultural or domestic waste to produce compost. Compost adds organic matter to the soil, macro and micronutrients and beneficial soil organisms that improve the health and structure of the soil, store water, and sequester CO2 from the atmosphere. The ‘waste’ that can be used to make it is often as abundant as it is undervalued: organic waste can make up as much as 60% of municipal waste in African cities. Using locally generated waste also brings savings for African farmers, who often pay a mark-up of between two to five times the price for soil correctives.