Special Event

Virtual Dialogue: Constraints and Opportunities for Fertilizer Use

Dec 10, 2015 - 03:00 pm WAT to Dec 11, 2015 - 04:45 am WAT

On December 10, beginning at 10:00AM West Africa-time, the Africa south of the Sahara Food Security Portal will hold a virtual dialogue on the important topic of fertilizer use in Africa. This event will bring together regional experts to engage with online participants in order to share information, discuss progress and constraints, and brainstorm new ideas to address the problem of low and improper fertilizer use. 

Discussion questions will include:

  • What is the market structure in Africa’s fertilizer market? How much does the global fertilizer market affect Africa (which imports most of its fertilizer)?
  • What is the role of policy in Africa’s fertilizer market?
  • What opportunities exist to improve Africa’s fertilizer market, and what are some examples of successful interventions?
  • What are the constraining factors (infrastructure, production, information, economy, etc.)

In 2006, the African Union Special Summit of the Heads of State and Government, adopted the twelve-resolution Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for an African Green Revolution, which aimed to increase Africa’s fertilizer use from the then-average 8kg per hectare to 50kg per hectare by 2015.  According to the International Fertilizer Industry Association, however, average fertilizer use in the region today is still only 12kg of fertilizer per hectare, compared to 150kg per hectare average in Asia.

In July 2015, a meeting organized by the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) reviewed progress on fertilizer use in the region to date concluded that while several regional economic communities, or RECs, have taken steps to establish successful regional fertilizer markets, several major challenges remain at both the regional and the country levels. The most important of these are a persistent lack of proper infrastructure, particularly ports; weak or non-existent country-level regulations; poorly functioning subsidy programs; and regulations that vary from country to country within the REC. All of these problems lead to inefficient fertilizer supply chains and subsequently higher costs for farmers.

For more information on the meeting’s findings and policy recommendations, visit the Africa South of the Sahara Food Security Portal.