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Esilaba, A.O.
Nyongesa D.
Okoti M
Wasilwa L
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Our food is part of a global chain of production and distribution, which impacts our health, environment, and economy. Soils are at the base of our food production. It is estimated that 95% of the food for the more than 7 billion people is directly or indirectly produced on our soils. Food availability is however, unevenly distributed and about one billion people in developing world are structurally underfed due to social, economic, political factors, climate change as well as biophysical factors such as land degradation and, land and water resources competition. Projections indicate that the world’s population will increase by 2 billion in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion people in 2050. To meet this increase food biophysical, socio-economic availability and productive capacity must be improved. Of crucial in this regard is the capacity of land users worldwide to manage their soils sustainably and productively. Judicious soil management is important in ending extreme hunger, achieving food security, improved nutrition, livelihoods as well human and environmental health. Partly; nutritious and quality food and animal fodder can only be produced from healthy soils. These soils also promote adequate healthy water resources leading to healthy landscapes and environments. Continuous restoration, maintenance and improvement of productive capacity soils are essential aspect of farm lands. Healthy soils are fertile and have the ability to provide all required nutrients in right proportions and forms for all plant needs to maturity. Soils that meet these criteria possess balanced physical, chemical and biological factors. Human beings however, disrupt the balance through their day to day activities that lead to land and soil degradation. Agricultural sector is a major contributor to land and soil degradation through unsustainable agricultural practices, overgrazing of rangelands, mono-cropping, excessive tillage, and low usage of fallow without appropriate replenishment of soil nutrients The diversity in the nature of the degradation causes and forms in different enterprises, landscapes and land use practices calls for varied management methods in managing land sustainably. Empowerment of stakeholders, trainers and farmer’s knowledge base are vital ingredients in this complex mix. This manual is aimed at empowering farmers, extension staff, researchers and other stakeholders with the necessary skills, information and knowledge on sustainable land use while conserving the soil ecosystems. It is envisaged that through this manual, farmers and field officers will deepen their understanding of our soils, enabling them to make site specific independent management and conservation decisions that promotes soil fertility leading to health soils that will promote increased food production, food security, human and environmental health in Kenya and beyond.
Esilaba, A.O. et al. (2021). KCEP-CRAL Integrated Soil Fertility and Water Management Extension Manual. Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization, Nairobi, Kenya