Stephen Owusu

Stephen Owusu


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I envision a world where farmers, agricultural practitioners and environmental resource managers could simultaneously predict potential crop yields, evaluate the best possible efficiency of resource use and get better adapted to climate change. These multiple objectives are achievable within the realm of the 21st century.


Newcastle University, UK

MSc. Agricultural and Environmental Science

Year: 2016

Work Experience

Over the course of the discharge of my duties at CSIR-Soil Research Institute, I have made enormous contributions to the compilation and harmonization of legacy soil data for developing digital soil maps for Ghana. I work at the forefront to provide specialist knowledge in the use of R statistical software coupled with ensemble models (Geostatistical models and Machine learning algorithms) for digital soil mapping.

In the meantime, I was nominated by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as a collaborating scientist to develop preliminary SOC stocks map for Ghana as part of a global mapping project. Here, I used soil spatial prediction functions (SSPFs) such as Regression-Kriging, Cubist and Random Forest modelling to produce a spatially explicit SOC map. The SOC stocks and uncertainty maps available from this research have now been shared for global assessments at  (Beta).

In essence, I am adequately proficient in the use of R Statistical Software, ArcGIS, SAGA GIS and Ensemble models for digital soil mapping. I am also proficient in biogeochemical modelling (DNDC and DSSAT models) to holistically assess the sustainability of different farming systems. It is hoped that my research output will continue to highlight the status of healthy soils, increase agronomic productivity and improve agricultural and environmental resilience to a changing climate in Ghana.

Research Overview / Output / Interest

My research interests primarily target modelling of soil nutrient dynamics and the resilience of agricultural systems to climate change with reference to soil health and sustainable food production. Climate change represents a severe threat to agricultural productivity, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where inherently low soil fertility and fragile agro-ecosystems restrict the region’s ability to achieve current and future food security. Smallholders and subsistence farmers in the SSA depend on rain-fed agriculture for crop production making climate change a potential risk to their livelihoods. Investigating the causal relationships and intricate patterns underlying the effects of climate vagaries on soil health, agronomic productivity, food security and livelihoods are fundamental goals that drive my research.

Current Research Focus

  1. I am investigating the potential of soil organic carbon (SOC) sequestration in the soils of Ghana. I’m testing geostatistical modelling (e.g. regression-kriging) and machine learning algorithms (e.g. Random Forest, Artificial Neural Networks and Support Vector Machines) for the spatial prediction of SOC in order to identify potential project locations for soil-based carbon sequestration in Ghana. The accompanying maps and data are useful for detailed spatial planning in precision agriculture and smallholder farmer applications. This work is supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
  1. Sustainable crop management practices in dynamic landscapes using Agent-Based Modelling (ABM). The growing demand for food cannot be met by simply cultivating more land, as this decision would have serious consequences on the global climate system. Therefore, there is a great need to close the gap in transferability of crop management decisions from the research trials to farmer’s fields. ABMs are particularly useful for assessing potential future crop management scenarios, where farmer decisions are affected not only by changes in the economic environment, but also by their cultural values and social processes of landscapes. In this research, data is collected from research trials and model farms on distinct landscapes so as to calibrate and adapt suitable ABMs with field measurements. These methods are being tested in the semi-deciduous and interior savannah agro-ecological zones in Ghana. This research supported by the OCP Group will directly benefit farmers, industry partners (OCP Group), and agricultural extension agents.

Selected Publications

Journal Publications

Owusu, S., Yigini, Y., Olmedo, G.F., Omuto, C.T., 2018. Spatial Prediction of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks in Ghana using Legacy Data. Geoderma (Under Review).

Technical Reports

Owusu, S., Koranteng, P.A., Appiah, A., Nketia, K.A., Boafo, A., Owusu-Ansah, A., 2018. Construction of Soil Monolith for Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG). CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso-Kumasi, Technical Report No. CSIR-SRI/CR/SO/2018/001.

Owusu, S., Yeboah, E., Boafo, A., Koranteng, P.A., 2018. Soil Resources and Fertility Status of Selected Compartments in Awura and Chirimfa Forest Reserves. CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso-Kumasi, Technical Report No. CSIR-SRI/CR/SO/2018/002.

Yeboah, E., Owusu, S., Owusu-Ansah, A., Appiah, Asamoah, E., A., Boafo, A., Awoonor, J., Nketia, K.A., Koranteng, P.A., 2018. Detailed Soil Survey of a Farmland owned by HODA Properties Limited at Kwaekese near Mame Krobo for Commercial Agricultural Production. CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso-Kumasi, Technical Report No. CSIR-SRI/CR/EY/2018/001.

Tetteh, F.M., Nketia, K.A., Asamoah, E., Awoonor, J., Owusu, S., Appiah, A., Owusu-Ansah, A., Asante, P.C., Badu, J., 2017. Report on the soil Resources and its Fertility of Benso Oil Palm Plantation (BOPP). CSIR-Soil Research Institute, Kwadaso-Kumasi, Technical Report No. CSIR-SRI/CR/FMT/2017/001.