IITA and partners launch campaign to promote access to fertilizers for African farmers Joint initiative launched at African Green Revolution Forum

IITA and partners launch campaign to promote access to fertilizers
for African farmers Joint initiative launched at African Green Revolution Forum

Addis Ababa, 3 September 2014 – IITA and partners including the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA), the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), and five other agricultural development partner organizations are launching a new campaign that will promote the importance of fertilizer access for African farmers as a means of bridging the current agricultural productivity gap on the continent.

The campaign will be launched today at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), a three-day event that brings together the global agricultural community to discuss and coordinate strategies for achieving the Green Revolution in Africa.

“We hope this campaign will prompt action by the research and development community to include its approaches into their agendas for African food security, poverty alleviation, and rural development and also raise awareness and understanding of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM),” says IITA’s Director General Nteranya Sanginga. IITA develops best-fit practices on ISFM including sustainable intensification of farming systems, as part of its research on natural resource management.

According to Charlotte Hebebrand, IFA Director General, “Fertilizer use in Africa remains startlingly low compared to other regions, with average use at around 10 kg/ha, a tenth of the global average.” As the voice of the global fertilizer industry, IFA aims to raise awareness on fertilizer’s role in reducing the yield gap and driving African agricultural development.

African leaders have pledged in the 2006 Abuja Declaration to bridge this gap and increase fertilizer use to 50 kg/ha by 2015. However, very few countries have met this goal.

The campaign calls for six key actions to help the African continent to address this challenge, namely:

1. Facilitate local production and import of fertilizers

2. Provide better access to credit, finance, and insurance

3. Invest in infrastructure which connects farmers to input and output markets

4. Develop mobile technologies

5. Train more extension workers to work with farmers

6. Disseminate best practices based on the integration of both organic and mineral nutrients and balanced fertilization, such as the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Framework and ISFM

An expert session at the AGRF to launch the campaign demonstrated the partners’ consensus on the importance of efficient crop nutrition for agricultural development but also for poverty eradication and broad-based economic development.

Chaired by Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, the distinguished panel of experts included Prof Richard Mkandawire, African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP); Dr Jeroen Huising, IITA; Stephanie Hanson, One Acre Fund; Rutger Bonsel, IFA member Stamicarbon; and Vanessa Adams, USAID Ethiopia.

“Developing agri-inputs supply chains in Africa,” said Commissioner Tumusiime, “is key to increasing the productivity and competitiveness of agrifood systems. Realizing the potential for agricultural transformation to yield broad-based prosperity and help extricate a majority of African people, especially youth and women, from poverty will require access to such inputs but also many other investments.”

Other campaign partners include the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), Alliance for a Green

Revolution in Africa (AGRA), CNFA, the International Potash Institute, and One Acre Fund.

The African Green Revolution Forum is an important platform for public-private dialogue, and lays the groundwork for the Green Revolution to reach the African continent.

The campaign also coincides with the 2014 International Year of Family Farming and the African Union

Year for Agriculture and Food Security.