Pre-Notification for Call for Research Proposals

Land erosion, deforestation and a global fertilizer shortage are threads to the Ethiopian food security. ETH-Soil aims to enhance soil quality – and thereby crop yields – in the East African country. Within the project we are working on sustainable solutions employing biochar based biofertilizers that will help smallholder farmers to gain independence from fertilizer imports.

In order to achieve that, we will release a second call for biofertilizer development in Ethiopia building on a first call in the beginning of the year [see information below]. The second call will focus on the development of a participatory approach to the formulation and application of biochar based biofertilizer on their farms.

This includes:

  • field experiments using a participatory approach in regard to farmers.
  • development of appropriate biofertilizer formulations based on the identified soil fertility problem and available biomass at farm sites.

The complete call will be released on 1st October on the GIZ website and on the ETH-Soil website. Deadline for proposal submissions will be 3rd December. Samples of the respective biochars intended for the application in the farm trials are to be provided to GIZ InS headquarters in Addis Ababa by 16th November.

We are looking forward to promising proposals!

+++ Deadline extension: 20. February 2023 – 12 p.m. +++

„Development of an evidence basis for the application of nutrient-loaded biochar on smallholder farms to enhance soil regeneration, increase productivity, strengthen food security, and mitigate climate change”

Introduction and background of the call

Agricultural cultivation in Ethiopia takes place primarily on highly fragmented land - with average farm sizes ranging from 0.2 to 2 hectares. Due to overuse, erratic rainfall and soil erosion, food security is one of the country's greatest challenges. Soil acidification occurs with eroded topsoil and depleted soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks, depleted nutrients, alternating drought stress and high rainfall. Many areas are experiencing productivity declines for main staple foods and cash crops. Rather few farmers use agricultural residues for soil improvement - mainly due to strong competition for the use of these residues as animal feed or fuel. However, several Woredas have already been advancing composting and vermicomposting efforts without or alongside other measures targeted to reduce soil erosion and improve soil fertility (intercropping, agro-forestry, etc.). Due to high and currently increasing prices of synthetic fertilizers in Ethiopia, the local production of organic fertilizers gains increasing attention.

Find more information here (PDF)