The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) together with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) hosted the first West Africa Fertilizer Stakeholder’s Forum (WAFSF) in Accra, Ghana, with support from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the United States Aid Mission (USAID) West Africa.
The Forum was attended by more than 235 key public officials, policy makers, international manufactures& trader, fertilizer importers, bankers, farmers and development partners, from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, The United States, amongst many, under the theme “Ensuring a favorable policy and Regulatory Environment for Fertilizer Trade and Use in West Africa,” to raise a flag on increased fertilizer use in West Africa.
Pierre Brunache Jnr, AFAP’s West Africa Regional Director, said the platform created by the WAFSF was historic in putting together all stakeholders along the fertilizer value chain in one venue.
“Various national and international fertilizer stakeholders gathered in Ghana to discuss practical approaches to overcoming the financial, logistical, technical and political challenges facing the fertilizer industry,” Brunache said.
He added that a major contribution to the success of the Forum was the consolidation of an African voice on Fertilizer value chain development.
“We had farmers, farmer unions, the private sector and policy makers to name a few, turning to each other for solutions and ideas on increasing fertilizer users and usage,” Brunache said.
Alexandre Deprez, Regional Mission Director for USAID West Africa, at the closing ceremony said: “The issues found along the fertilizer value chain are complex- barriers to increased production and distribution to name a few. The solutions to these problems cannot be delegated to just one group but would need stronger cooperation and team work from members across the fertilizer value chain.”
“All players in the fertilizer value chain, from the government official to the farmer have a critical role in improving fertilizer use through systematic and sustainable change,” Deprez said.
AFAP and IFDC, with the help of USAID West Africa, cultivated the West Africa fertilizer Program aimed at recognizing pillar two of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Pilllars of creating the required regulatory and policy framework that will facilitate the emergence of regional economic spaces that will spur the expansion of regional trade and cross-country investments.
Jason Scarpone, AFAP’s President and CEO said: “It is instrumental that development organizations- Cape to Cairo, create lasting conversations with the private sector to ensure that he African agricultural sector blossoms.”
“A forum such as this is a first and a must in the African Fertilizer space,” Scarpone said.
“As AFAP we are committed to creating a platform for these prosperous partnerships with members who see the value that Africa will add towards ensuring global food security,” added Scarpone.
The work conducted through the Forum will inform and direct additional West Africa Fertilizer Program activities including fertilizer subsidy and policy studies; establishment of a fertilizer quality assurance program; improvements of site and crop specific fertilizer recommendations; soil testing and mapping; regional fertilizer trial demonstrations; and strengthening agro-dealer capacity.