GeoNutrition - tackling hidden hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Sustainable Agriculture Sciences-H

Abstract

Mineral Micronutrient Deficiencies (MNDs) are widespread in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). MNDs (a.k.a. hidden hunger) have a major detrimental effect on human health which constrains economic growth and efforts to alleviate poverty. Alleviating MNDs is a major component of the second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG2), to "End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture", by 2030. This Foundation Award will focus on supporting efforts to reduce MNDs in Ethiopia and Malawi, two countries with widespread mineral nutrient malnutrition problems where dietary mineral intakes fall well below levels required for optimal nutrition. For example, zinc deficiency risks are >40% in both countries which causes high rates of child mortality and stunting. Selenium deficiency risks exceed 75% in Malawi, compromising the healthy functioning of human immune systems. Iron and iodine deficiencies are widespread and are the focus of widespread supplementation and food fortification programmes (i.e. technical 'fixes') in the region.

The scientific aim of this Foundation Award is to understand how the spectral properties of tropical African soils relate to plant-availability of minerals in soils and, subsequently, to the transfer of minerals into the edible portions of staple crops and diets, and to population-level biomarkers of optimal mineral status. Achieving this aim will enable the geospatial prediction of plant-available nutrients in soils and in edible crop tissues, and thereby in downstream food systems. Spectral properties have previously been measured on a massive scale by the Africa Soils Information Service (AfSIS) programme, using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and Mid Infra-Red (MIR) spectroscopy. We have previously identified strong links between soil-crop-biomarkers in small-scale cross-sectional studies in Malawi.

This aim will be realised through activities in three Themes. In Theme 1, a designed soil and crop sampling programme will be conducted at 500 sites in Ethiopia. Two sets of statistical models will be developed, the first will focus on predicting relationships between total (XRF) and plant-available soil mineral concentrations, using covariate data from MIR, remote sensing and legacy data (e.g. maps) sources. The second set of models will focus on relationships between plant-available soil mineral concentrations and their concentrations in crop edible portions. In Theme 2, these data will be integrated with data from published/government sources to predict dietary mineral supply (and highlight knowledge gaps). These predictions will be tested against mineral biomarker data (e.g. blood, urine) and proxies of micronutrient status (e.g. stunting) from national surveillance programmes. Outputs of Themes 1 and 2 will be delivered in the forms of maps and reports suited to communicating with policy-makers, to include the communication of uncertainty. Maps will be used to highlight those geographical areas that are at highest likely risk of MNDs. The focus of Theme 3 is interactions with policy-makers to optimise communication strategies, and to strengthen networks and capacity to conduct longer-term R&D to address knowledge gaps in the region.

We have well-established networks of partners in Ethiopia and Malawi, including academics, high-level policy-makers, NGOs and industry, who will all play active roles to ensure that the Foundation Award delivers genuine impact that will be assessed using robust evaluation procedures.

Technical Summary

GeoNutrition is a framework to help reduce mineral Micronutrient Deficiencies (MNDs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). It adds value to the Africa Soils Information Service (AfSIS) programme, whose current focus is soils information, by integrating the spheres of agriculture, nutrition and public health. The initial scope is Ethiopia and Malawi, due to established interactions with academics and policy-makers.

Our scientific aim is to understand how the spectral properties of tropical soils relate to plant-availability of soil minerals and subsequent mineral transfers into the edible portions of staple crops. Spectral properties have previously been measured by AfSIS using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) and Mid Infra-Red (MIR) spectroscopy.

Soils/staple-crops will be sampled at 500 new sites (Ethiopia, late-2017). Soil properties influencing plant-availability (e.g. iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity) and MIR/XRF (e.g. pH, organic C) analyses will be conducted on the same samples. Mechanisms controlling nutrient binding/release will be identified and plant-available soil concentrations predicted at all AfSIS sites using Linear Mixed Modelling (covariates include satellite data and legacy maps). Similar models of staple-crop mineral composition and dietary mineral supplies will be developed at co-located sites and published/government sources.

Co-regionalised mapping will include estimates of (un)certainty in visual and verbal forms. Maps will show areas to be at the highest likely risk of MNDs to frame knowledge gaps. These predictions will be tested against mineral biomarker data (e.g. blood, urine) and proxies of MND status (e.g. stunting) from national surveillance programmes. Interactions with policy-makers to optimise communication strategies for different groups, and to strengthen networks/capacity to conduct longer-term R&D to address regional knowledge gaps is embedded within the work programme.

Planned Impact

The impact of our research is aimed towards enhancing the quality of life, health and well-being of people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The initial focus of GeoNutrition is Ethiopia and Malawi (Low Income Countries, LICs), both with major Micronutrient Deficiency (MND) problems, but it is scalable to other countries. By developing a multidisciplinary and geospatial 'Agriculture-to-Nutrition' framework, GeoNutrition can support several of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the elimination of hunger (SDG2), good health and wellbeing (SDG3), reduced inequalities (SDG10), and responsible consumption and production (SDG12).

Preliminary and single-mineral micronutrient studies have already enabled us to link soil type to food composition, dietary mineral supply and socioeconomic factors in Malawi. This led directly to secondary biomarker analyses in the 2015/16 National Micronutrient Survey, by the Government of Malawi, which was a pilot 'Pathways to Impact' activity. Such activities will be extended in this Foundation Award, albeit on a larger scale and in multiple countries, for several mineral micronutrients. The GeoNutrition approach has potential applications across the entire African continent. The Africa Soils Information Service (AfSIS) has prepared digital soil maps across Africa.

The idea of testing the wider application of spectral properties of tropical African soils in food, nutrition and health domains is highly innovative. We have identified scientific and logistical risk factors to achieving project success in the Management Plan. However, even with partial success, this project would help to address the historical problem that expensive wet chemistry techniques are difficult to deploy in SSA. Some successes are virtually certain based on preliminary pilot-scale work.

A successful GeoNutrition project will integrate natural and social sciences approaches, and thereby provide considerable value for monitoring/testing policy interventions through a geospatial framework. This integrated, multidisciplinary, geospatial framework is designed to build an R&D platform to support evidence based policy making. For example, GeoNutrition can be used to identify areas of high/low/uncertain mineral intakes, and potential cohorts of volunteers to study the health effects of interventions for long-term monitoring.

From a natural sciences perspective, the data and approaches used in GeoNutrition have the potential to shape/enhance soil and crop management decisions, and investment in breeding programmes. For example, it can inform decisions on how to prioritise R&D and deploy new traits/varieties most effectively to benefit consumers, farmers, and the wider industry.

From a social sciences perspective, food systems research from both consumer (demand-driven) and producer (supply-driven) perspectives could potentially be transformed by being able to account for spatial variations in food mineral compositions. The flows of some minerals (e.g. zinc, iron, iodine) through food systems can be integrated into health burden/outcome-based socioeconomic frameworks (e.g. using Disability Adjusted Life Years, DALYs). Thus, our findings can contribute immediately towards influencing public policies to address MNDs at local, regional and national scales, e.g. through education and dietary diversification. We expect that our work will support the development of similar frameworks for other minerals (e.g. selenium).

Our "Pathways to Impact" activities will align directly with an ongoing (University of Nottingham-led) capacity strengthening project, funded by the Royal Society-DFID. This programme is seeking to increase doctoral training opportunities in SSA, with a focus on human (student, academic, technical) and infrastructural (lab., admin., finance) capacity. The impact of this project and wider programme is being evaluated using a Theory of Change framework, which we will also deploy for GeoNutrition.
 
Description Amhara soil and grain sampling survey completed. This phase was of critical value, because it allowed us to: (i) deploy robust field and lab SOPs and training procedures; (ii) use informed participatory risk assessments with field staff; (iii) design ethical approval and consent procedures and submissions; (iv) conduct a pilot livestock survey in December 2018.
Soil and grain samples have been analysed in ICRAF, RRes and UoN labs; sample duplicates have been retained by AAU in Ethiopia for future analyses. We conducted more analyses than planned, including new method development. For example, we: (i) modified soil fractionation protocols to gain greater insights on soil selenium, iodine, silicon and sulfur dynamics; (ii) completed more detailed analyses on soil zinc lability/crop availability using stable zinc isotopes; (iii) optimized grain iodine analyses because grain iodine concentrations were smaller than expected. A methods-development manuscript for (i) is currently in preparation.
Amhara preliminary data analyses, ongoing. Thus far, we have conducted two broad types of geospatial analysis on the Amhara data. The first has been to explore evidence for spatial dependencies in grain mineral concentration in teff and wheat. For both crops, and for almost all mineral elements tested to date, we find spatial variation in grain concentration exhibited by either a trend in the mean, or spatial dependence of a substantial proportion of the random variation, or both, over scales of several 10s of km. For grain zinc, and other mineral (e.g. Ca, Mo, and Mn) concentrations, for the correlated random variation, more than half the variation is spatially correlated. These analyses vindicate the 'GeoNutrition' approach because they indicate that the supply of micronutrients from local food sources is spatially variable, and so an effective response to deficiency must account for this variation, possibly through management of spatially variable drivers such as soil conditions. For the second type of data analysis, we are focusing on the main target elements (selenium and zinc) to identify the most important soil and landscape co-variates for spatial prediction and to map the spatial variation of grain concentrations and the probability that grain can support adequate intake. A manuscript (on grain selenium concentration) is currently in preparation.
Exploitation Route Based on this work, we successfully bid for a larger (more than £4.4M) GeoNutrition project from BMGF that covers larger areas of cropland in Ethiopia and Malawi, and includes growing biofortified maize to be used in a human intervention study, thus extending the scope of the programme and broadening out the multidisciplinary aspects of the work. The larger project also has budget for capacity building via training PhD students and training in field and lab studies.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment,Healthcare,Government, Democracy and Justice,Other

 
Description Evidence given for the impact and benefit of international development research supported by UK agri-science. APPG on Science & Technology in Agriculture Annual Report 2017/18
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
URL http://www.appg-agscience.org.uk
 
Description Syngenta Code for Sustainable and Responsible Agriculture
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Chemical and Biological Assessment of AfSIS soils
Amount £565,211 (GBP)
Funding ID BBS/OS/GC/000014B 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 07/2017
 
Description Fertiliser Optimiser App
Amount £56,263 (GBP)
Funding ID BBS/OS/GC/200014A 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 07/2018
 
Description GeoNutrition-reducing 'hidden hunger' in Ethiopia and Malawi
Amount £4,400,000 (GBP)
Organisation Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United States
Start 01/2018 
End 07/2022
 
Title Global Soils metgenomic library 
Description collection of over 450 shotgun metagenome data sets collected from various public repositories and generated from pristine and managed soils around the globe. These are being used to assess the diversity of micro-organisms and functions and study the effects of management upon soil communities.Partnerships with Bioplatforms Australia and the African Soils information service is contributing metagenomes from across Australia and sub-Saharan Africa to this database and extending the utility of the resource. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact none yet 
 
Title Open Data on AWS: Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) Soil Chemistry 
Description This dataset contains soil infrared spectral data and paired soil property reference measurements for georeferenced soil samples that were collected through the Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) project, which lasted from 2009 through 2018. Georeferenced samples were collected from 19 countries in Sub-Saharan African using a statistically sound sampling scheme, and their soil properties were analyzed using both conventional soil testing methods and spectral methods (infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy). 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The two types of data can be paired to form a training dataset for machine learning, such that certain soil properties can be well-predicted through less expensive spectral techniques. 
URL https://registry.opendata.aws/afsis/
 
Title Open-access data on African soils available via Amazon DB 
Description iGCRF data relating to African soils were used in the first open-access Amazon DB related to soils information. This was announced in December 2018. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This data will help develop high resolution, ground-truthed maps covering various African regions related to soil chemistry and fertility 
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation Addis Ababa University
Country Ethiopia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution data in relation to aspects of human nutrition
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation British Geological Survey
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution Responsibility for sampling design for WP1.1, and statistical modelling in WP1.4. Also contribute to the development of methods to communicate uncertain information in Theme 3. All
Impact NONE YET
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation Columbia University
Department Earth Institute
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs, providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution provide access to data and expertise
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution Provide expertise and access to datasets and maps from Ethiosis
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT)
Country Mexico 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution Provision of datasets and expertise
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources
Country Malawi 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry on the soil samples. The data produced will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution staff time, expertise on soil science and human nutrition.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution They will lead food systems analyses using both agricultural and social sciences perspectives. They will integrate crop composition, food supply, nutrition and food systems datasets. Assist with field work implementation of crop/soil sampling in Malawi and Ethiopia. Contribute to report and paper writing and presentation of findings, with a focus on engaging the nutrition community.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation Ministry of Health Malawi
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution Science and policy related expertise
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development
Country Malawi 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution data on assessments of selenium deficiency based on food systems and biomarker assessments, demonstrating a strong link between soil type and selenium deficiency.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation University of Nottingham
Department School of Biosciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution They will develop new crop/food composition databases for food systems analyses.Ensure the project aligns with ongoing research, including human micronutrient studies and capacity strengthening in doctoral training, in Ethiopia, Malawi, and elsewhere. Will carry out 2500 grain digests for multi-element and iodine), phytate analyses on grains and edible portions and then quantifiy phytic acid in grains.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Description GeoNutrition-tackling hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa 
Organisation World Agroforestry Centre
Country Kenya 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution We will perform the wet chemistry (including inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry, ICP-MS) to quantify properties influencing mineral bioavailability such as iron sesquioxides, effective cation exchange capacity, phosphate binding capacity. Solid-state MIR and XRF measurements on the same samples will be made in AfSIS labs,providing complementary data on total elements, pH and organic C. Together, these data sets will allow us to determine which soil factors are most important in determining crop metal concentrations and help to identify the mechanisms which control nutrient binding and release. It will enable us to determine if the wet chemical results can be predicted reliably from solid-state measurements that can be performed in Africa
Collaborator Contribution staff will contribute to field data collection, soil & plant laboratory, software development and data science workflows: Total soil mineral concentrations for many elements, and soil physical and chemical properties, have been inferred from spectral data and then mapped across Africa
Impact none yet
Start Year 2017
 
Title Fertilizer Optimizer app 
Description The original conceptualization and development of the optimization tool was by the university of Nebraska-Lincoln. Jansen J, Wortmann CS, Stockton MC, Kaizzi CK (2013). Maximizing net returns to financially constrained fertilizer use. Agronomy Journal 105 (3) 573-578. The Fertilizer Optimizer tool was built as part of the Optimising Fertilizer Recommendations in Africa (OFRA) project, led by CABI. The project was a partnership between CABI, the University of Nebraska Lincoln, national governments and agricultural research and extension systems in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. OFRA was supported by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). In this project this spreadsheet-based tool was converted to an Android app and validated against the original spreadsheet version. This included transferring the spreadsheet logic over to an Android app, and providing parameters for crop and the sixty agro-environmental zones. Translation of the interface was completed and as well as English, French and Portuguese are now supported. An upgrade to a mobile phone app now offers farmers across Africa even more benefits and cutting-edge fertilizer use technology. This will help farmers to grow healthier, more productive with increasingly profitable crops, as a result of more informed use of how small amounts of fertilizer impact the crops which they grow. Pilot work on the CABI Fertilizer Optimizer app in Uganda has shown that some farmers realised up to a seven-fold increase in yields. Using funding from the BBSRC Global Challenges Research Fund, the app has now been upgraded to make it easier to use. The new app includes the integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) practices feature, and a calibration tool which helps farmers to apply the right quantity of fertilizer to their crops. The Fertilizer Optimizer app is designed to help resource constrained farmers to maximise the return on investment on fertilizer, based on what the farmer can realistically afford. In the latest version of the Fertilizer Optimizer app it is possible to calibrate the fertilizer recommendation to the planting conditions of a user's field. Version 1 of the app provided users with an amount of fertilizer to use and an application rate (e.g. 5kg per hectare). Now it is possible to enter field measurements, container sizes and preferred application technique and the app will help to evenly distribute the recommended fertilizers across the crop providing actionable information tailored to a particular field. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The Fertilizer Optimizer has been produced for: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and is available to use in English, French and Portuguese. Impact stories are reported in blog posts attached to this report. The was launched in the Google play store in January and it is too soon to discuss impact. Outreach and marketing campaigns will be undertaken by CABI, the responsible partner for this part of the project. Open Soils Data Platform BBS/OS/GC/200014B We have developed and implemented an Open Soils data Platform that enables the storage and searching of multiple information sources on soils e.g. soil samples and support materials such as reports for sub-Saharan Africa. The platform uses an agreed set of metadata and controlled vocabularies needed for integrating a range of data. Prototype metadata integration for several data collections has been achieved enabling searching of the catalogue for datasets containing related-information on soils information. The architecture developed is easily extensible to other information resources and databases as soon as they become viable http://catalogue.ceh.ac.uk/osdp/documents Issues emerged regarding access to data from African sources e.g OFRA but discussions with these and others are ongoing. The continuing objectives are to engage with stakeholders to populate the catalogue with additional datasets so it becomes a valued repository of data for soil health for Africa 
 
Company Name Innovative Solutions for Decision Agriculture (iSDA) 
Description Innovative Solutions for Decision Agriculture (iSDA) has been set up in the UK, and discussions are ongoing about its strategy. It is the successor to the AfSIS project, focussing on providing services and products developed in AfSIS and its own advances, including developments in BB/P023126/1 and BBS/E/C/000I0310. iSDA's founding partners are RRes, ICRAF and IITA. It is likely to be funded by BMGF for 5 years. Its main base will be in Nairobi. iSDA was established to build on the AfSIS work and to develop a sustainable, long term operating model that mixes open innovation with a variety of income sources. 
Year Established 2018 
Impact The project has combined historic data with remote sensing information and new field sampling techniques to create the first ever digital soil map of Africa. Built upon the principles of open innovation and co-development, the technologies and methodologies developed by AfSIS are freely available and remain highly relevant in other areas of the world.
Website https://www.isda-global.org/
 
Description "How can soil data help us tackle hidden hunger?". 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A video produced to explain how we can use soil data help us tackle hidden hunger and how soil management could reveal new ways to tackle it in sub-Saharan Africa
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://www.geonutrition.com/
 
Description "Soil properties which influence bioavailability". 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Steve McGrath was an invited introductory speaker at the DEFRA Minerals from Grassland Workshop on Friday 22 February 2019 at Rothamsted Conference Centre, Harpenden.
There were four other presentations and discussions, including research gaps, at the Workshop with 30 attendees
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description AfSIS and related GeoNutrition projects. AfSIS/iSDA Workshop, 29-30 October, ICRAF, Nairobi. 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact To share information and progress on the Project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Conference - Washington DC, October 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Prof Steve McGrath was invited to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges Conference in Washington DC, 2-5th October 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Festival of Science held at Rothamsted Research- exhibit entitled "Hidden Hunger" and The Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact More than 8000 visitors attended the event over 3 days, including one day for schools and invited people of importance.
Our exhibit "Hidden hunger' discussed the deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals in the diet. Worldwide, more than 2 billion people lack vital micronutrients. Deficiencies of iron, zinc and iodine are recognized as having the largest negative impact on public health (WHO, 2006). In association with AfSIS (Africa Soil Information Service), our lab has recently is focused on developing the use of dry spectroscopy for the rapid and high-throughput analysis of the physical and chemical properties of soil and crop material. We showcased one of the instruments: pXRF (portable X-ray Fluorescence) which analyses the total elemental content of virtually any substance in an instant. We analysed the elemental content of a range of food stuffs from fizzy drinks to 'super-foods', to find out how nutritious (or not!) they are. Visitors were invited to have their own food items scanned. We encouraged visitors to think about how nutritious their food is or is not.
We showed our " nutrient maps" of Africa and discussed stable crop varieties grown in Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description GeoNutrition meeting and Dissemination Event, Rothamsted, 29 August 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Discussion on data produced
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description How can soil data help us tackle hidden hunger 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Facebook post showcasing the video discussing using soil data to tackle hidden hunger in Africa. 1.2K Views
34 Likes 2 Comments 23 Shares
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FRothamsted%2Fvideos...
 
Description Progress meeting/visit to farms in Kenya for partnering award 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Jenni Dungait and Laura Cardenas attended progress meeting/visit to farms in Kenya for partnering award plus completion of GCRF proposal (Nov 2017).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Soil Health Policy 18th June 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Visit and workshop with Soil Policy Advisors
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Sub-Saharan Africa Soil Fertility Prioritization Survey 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Prof Steve McGrath took part in the Sub-Saharan Africa Soil Fertility Prioritization Survey to support USAID efforts to prioritize future soil fertility efforts in Africa.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description The London Interdisciplinary Biosciences Consortium at Kings College , London 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited to present a talk on Soil Science entitled "Improving Soils for Crop Production and Human Nutrition". by The London Interdisciplinary Biosciences Consortium.
The London Interdisciplinary Biosciences Consortium is one of the largest BBSRC funded Doctoral Training Partnerships in the UK. Representing an exciting collaboration between six of London's world-class universities and specialist institutions, the consortium provides students with a unique opportunity to pursue innovative interdisciplinary research projects.The aim of the events was to provide a range of leading academic, industry and not for profit speakers and deliver a rounded and comprehensive subject view for each themed day.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://lido-dtp.ac.uk/
 
Description Wefarm visit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact To discuss how WeFarm and Rothamsted could work together
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018