The West Africa Soil Health Consortia (WASHC) project successfully conducted a training workshop in Ibadan 25-29 May for the five Country-level Soil Health Consortia (CSHC) established in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, and Nigeria. Stakeholders included representatives from other IITA projects, Africa RISING, University of Ibadan, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, and Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Ibadan. There were 28 participants from 16 organizations across West Africa, with some of the resource persons coming from USA and Kenya. The objective of the workshop was to contribute to better recommendations on integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) for smallholder farmers through capacity building in ISFM data synthesis and information management.
In his welcome address, the project Leader, Dr Jeroen Huising, pointed out that the training workshop was very important and of urgent necessity for the CSHC to fulfill their function of being a repository of ISFM data and information. It was also needed to broaden agronomic data and information management across IITA and to improve data sharing across different projects both within and outside IITA. “We need to discuss opportunities to share data and knowledge better: we spend a lot of time collecting data but make little or no effort to ensure its use for the longer term. We need to improve this,” Dr Huising emphasized.
The 5-day training workshop focused on data management, presentation and review of legacy data collected in each CSHC; understanding of the conceptual framework for ISFM data analyses and recommendations; use of metadata data standards for ISFM trials and legacy data; presentation of different agronomic protocols and the review of different data collection templates; ISFM trials data analyses using R studio; use of aWhere for effective management, analyses,
and visualization of ISFM trials data;
and the use of Dev aWhere platform. Also discussed were best practices in data management and data quality; capacity development in MS Excel – Excel spreadsheet requirements for use on aWhere platform; challenges to data harmonization; and how to leverage weather data for ISFM data analysis.
Jeroen Huising, Martin Mueller, Samuel Mesele, Martin Macharia (CABI, OFRA data manager), Dries Roobroeck, Hannah Reed, and Courtney Cohen facilitated the sessions. At the end of the training, Dr Huising presented certificates of attendance to the participants.