The East and Southern Africa soil health consortia was officially launched in March 2013 at the Tribe Hotel in Nairobi. The launch brought together coordinators and partners from eight countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia), CGIAR centers (IITA, CIAT), other regional institutions like IFDC, national agricultural research institutes (KARI, NARO) and AGRA.
The policy level was represented by the Kenyan Secretary for Agriculture and the Director KARI. Speakers at the launch expressed the constant frustration of sustained effort and investments, yet the impact on crop yield and food security had remained low. Dr. Wilson Songa highlighted the link between the consortia and the Kenyan government drive to achieve the vision 2030 of becoming a middle class developed country. He assured the consortia of continued support from his government department. The Director of Soil Health at AGRA, Dr. Bashir Jama, showed how crop yields have continued to increase in other parts of the world but not in Africa. He went further to give widespread examples of African success stories where ISFM technologies are used properly, which shows the good potential that exists to achieve food security in Africa.
The country level inception workshops were held between April and August 2013 in forums that were attended by policy makers, NARS, CGIAR representatives, Input processors and suppliers and output market players.