On the 13th April 2015, Shamba Shape Up joined forces with CIAT, plus a whole host of experts (Syngenta, Soil Cares, One Acre Fund and YPARD) to discuss the problems African farmers are facing due to poor soil.
The International Year of Soils 2015 is helping to mobilise much-needed interest and action in global efforts to protect soils, a finite resource on which our lives depend.
But it is small scale farmers who suffer the effects of land degradation and poor soil health the most – and, as guardians of 80% of the world’s farmland, it is they who are most in need of affordable and practical solutions to protect their soil.
It was in light of this that CIAT and Shamba Shape Up teamed up to host a 1 hour Twitter Q&A on the theme of “Helping Farmers Build Healthier Soils”.
The chat attracted interest world-wide and lead to a lively and interactive discussion between experts and farmers. Many of the questions focused around how to solve the problems farmers were facing now, rather than looking to the future; a sign of how desperate the situation has already become.
Some in-depth research into the chat by CIAT led to some amazing results. With a reach of over 300,000 accounts, and an exposure of 3 million impressions the chat reached a huge number of people, many of whom may never have known about soil degradation and its effects.
As well as this, the chat was made up of near 1,000 tweets from 186 contributors, all of whom gave interesting insights and ideas into how the future of soil can be changed.
Shamba Shape Up benefitted particularly from the presence of many farmers who had heard about the chat via Facebook. They asked innovative questions; many of whom were keen to know how they could do a soil test, which was a topic on the most recent Shamba Shape Up episode.
The chat gave all of us something to think about for the future, especially as many of the organisations involved head to Berlin for International Soil Week 2015 conferences. We are so grateful to everyone that got involved and had the chance to #TalkSoil with us, and we thank you for your involvement.