Welcome to Rocks for Crops on the web!

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Abstracts from the International Workshop in Brazil

Rocks for Crops - First International Workshop Invitation

This is the official site for information, updates and links related to our project, Rocks for Crops: Multi-media Learning Materials on Rock Phosphates for Sustainable Agriculture � a Partnership Initiative in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Canada, funded by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).

It is exciting that our project to develop multi-media learning materials on the topic of agrogeology for use in university courses and as a resource for NGOs and extension agents is well underway. From humble beginnings in Tanzania in 1984 to the establishment of a course at the University of Guelph , to the official opening of an Agrogeology Centre in Indonesia, the field of agrogeology is gaining wider global interest and exposure. With the support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) we have carried out several collaborative projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia since beginning in 1984. And now, due to support from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the knowledge gained from years of research initiatives conducted worldwide will be made accessible to students and farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa with the overall goal of improving soil fertility and food security for small-scale farmers.

A recent visit by Dr. Pedro Sanchez to the University of Guelph affirmed the importance of such initiatives in Africa. As Director of Tropical Agriculture at the Earth Institute and co-chair of the UN Hunger Task Force of the Millennium Project, Dr. Sanchez asserts that depleted soil fertility is the leading cause of hunger, poverty and environmental degradation in sub-Saharan Africa. In the action-plan to combat world hunger, Sanchez and his task force stress the need to increase agricultural productivity of food-insecure farmers, primarily by investing in soil health to return degraded, undernourished soils to a healthy state. Our approach of using �rocks for crops', relying on locally available resources to maintain and enhance soil fertility, is an innovative way to help farmers respond to this need.

It is with great enthusiasm that I invite both project partners as well as the wider community to participate actively in the development of this unique initiative. Collaboration across disciplines, knowledge systems and experiences is fundamental to the success and relevance of the Rocks for Crops project, and as such we welcome any questions, interaction and/or contributions from both partners and others interested in this endeavour. Please be sure to re-visit this site to check out future progress reports and to read news about the Rocks for Crops project.

I am looking forward to your responses and involvement. We want to make this initiative a forum for discussions and interaction, and we need you as an active partner!!!

Dr. Peter van Straaten
Project Leader
Land Resource Science Department
University of Guelph , Ontario