IBSRAM: a new international agency for soil management in countries
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CTA. 1987. IBSRAM: a new international agency for soil management in countries. Spore 9. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/44657
Soil quality is a determining factor in crop yields. In many Third World countries overgrazing, deforestation and salinization are damaging soils, often beyond repair. Better management can help to overcome these problems but it means teaching...
Soil quality is a determining factor in crop yields. In many Third World countries overgrazing, deforestation and salinization are damaging soils, often beyond repair. Better management can help to overcome these problems but it means teaching farmers new techniques. The International Board for Soils Research and Management (IBSRAM) was established in 1983 to provide technical assistance in this field in order to help maintain the productivity of cultivated land. One of the first activities of the Board, which is chaired by Dr. C.F. Bentley, a soils Professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, was the organization of several working groups and their respective networks to address priority problems. In an effort to remain small and efficient, the IBSRAM office relies on this overall network of coordinators and technical advisers for its information, training and data analysis needs. The positive response to IBSRAM's formation was proof of the need for this kind of organization. At the Invitation of the Government of Thailand, its headquarters was established in Bangkok in 1985. Through ORSTOM France is funding the Director's office (now held by Dr. Marc Latham) until 1988. IBSRAM's main objectives are as follows: - to ensure that existing knowledge on soil management is well used and to promote further research in this field in conjunction with national agronomic institutions; - to disseminate as widely as possible information on proven technologies through the use of technical bulletins, publications, training courses and computerized data banks; and - to improve the effectiveness of national agronomic institutions through networking and communication activities as well as technical support. The different impacts that various cultivation methods can have on soils is obvious. Analysis of these methods must necessarily consider soil, climatic and agronomic factors, but must also include socio-economic factors if it is to deal seriously with questions of resource management. To be successful, the implementation of a soils management programme demands not only a comprehensive understanding of pedological and environmental factors but also of the farmers themselves, of their cultivation techniques and of the latest research findings. National research organizations are best adapted to deal with problems in the field. That is why they have been asked by IBSRAM to play an important supporting role in the implementation of its programmes. IBSRAM recognizes that a sound understanding of experience of farmers and a knowledge of their techniques are essential to successful research in this field. Soil management technologies must thus be adapted to both the practical needs of small farmers and to national priorities. The IBSRAM networks are concentrating on the following priorities: vertisols, acidic tropical soils, deforestation and regional planning. In arid and semi-arid regions, vertisols could make a substantial contribution to agricultural development. To encourage better use of such lands, IBSRAM is working with organizations such as the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Acid soils have traditionally been considered as marginal in tropical regions. Recent research has shown, however that new technologies can be used to improve yields on such land. To enable farmers to benefit from such developments, IBSRAM has established a second working group with researchers from Australia. the USA and France. Deforestation is a feature of almost all forest ecosystems. In arid and tropical regions however, it has reached crisis proportions which demand urgent attention. This is the concern of another IBSRAM working group which includes GTZ (the West German technical cooperation agency) IITA (the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) and USAID. To help ensure that the goals of these working groups are achieved, special attention is being paid to the formation of regional networks that will be directed by three partners: - development workers who will have the task of organizing soil management programmes, - IBSRAM, which will supervise the projects and provide logistical support through programme coordinators, and - donors, who will fund the programmes either in total or in part.