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African Leaders Pledges to Triple Fertilizer Production

ADDIS ABABA – African Union has welcomed African leaders’ pledge to triple fertilizer production and distribution to enhance agricultural sustainability and smallholder farmer livelihoods.

African Heads of State and Government endorsed a Nairobi declaration articulating the outcomes of the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit Kenya’s capital this month.

“The declaration signified a transformative step towards improving access and affordability of certified quality organic and inorganic fertilizers across the continent,” the African Union said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

In recent years, there has been a significant growth in local manufacturing of mineral fertilizers with over $15 billion of investments by the private sector, per the AU.

However, even as Africa’s mineral fertilizer production is estimated at 30 million metric tons annually, most of it is exported outside the continent.

The majority of African states are still over-dependent on imported fertilizers, especially non-phosphate-based fertilizers, exposing the continent to external market shocks and price volatility.

To address this, African governments committed to increase investments in local domestic manufacturing and blending of fertilizers harnessing the continent’s resources.

Thirteen critical points are outlined in the Nairobi Declaration on the implementation of the commitments to, among others, triple the domestic production and distribution of certified quality fertilizers by 2034.

This ambitious initiative aims to uplift smallholder farmers by ensuring they have access to the essential inputs necessary for enhancing agricultural productivity. the AU says.

The governments committed to prioritize local production of fertilizers using locally available raw materials; and strengthen research on inorganic and organic fertilizers by resuscitating the African Centre for Fertilizer Development in Harare.

They will also provide incentive for local production, leverage opportunities offered by low-carbon fertilizer manufacturing, establish small and medium ventures, and leverage the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to double intra-Africa fertilizer trade by 2034.

The leaders further pledged to ensure that by 2034, at least 70% of smallholder farmers receive tailored agronomic recommendations to optimize fertilizer usage for increased efficiency and sustainability.

This, according to AU, entails the development of context-specific fertilizer and soil health recommendations, standardized tools for assessing soil fertility and health.

It also involves establishing a digital information system for fertilizer and crop decision support, and support for natural gas-producing member States to stabilize fertilizer prices and increase production.

In relation to financing, a pledge was made to fully operationalize the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism or AFFM to bolster the production, procurement, and distribution of fertilizers and soil health interventions.

A commitment was also made to ensure that at least 70% of smallholder farmers receive quality extension services on fertilizer and soil health as well as strengthening the last-mile delivery systems by supporting agro-dealers and SMEs.

Meanwhile, recommendations were outlined to create an enabling environment for fertilizer and soil health interventions, including the development of continental guidelines, policy harmonization, private sector engagement, and strengthening public-private partnerships.

The leaders agreed to incorporate the recommendations of the Nairobi Declaration into their National Agricultural Investment Plan In a bid to translate the commitments into action.

The Nairobi Summit also witnessed the launch of 10-year Action Plan and Soil Initiative Framework which taksed finance ministers to mobilize and allocate adequate resources for their implementation.