Nearly two hundred government officials, fertilizer industry executives and agriculture industry experts gathered at the Ngorongoro Conference Hall of the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge to officially launch the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP).
The 30-minute event included brief remarks from AFAP President and CEO, Jason Scarpone, Board Chairman Dr. Namanga Ngongi and Dr. Bashir Jama, director of the soil health program for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). It was followed by a lunch reception.
“Many of you in the room are part of the partnership that conceived AFAP,” Scarpone said. “And after all your hard work, it is extremely gratifying to announce that AFAP is up and running and deeply engaged in the work of bolstering fertilizer markets in Africa.”
AFAP start-up processes in South Africa started in February 2012, when the first funding arrived for the new independent non-profit. Once funding for on-the-ground activities came through in mid-September 2012, AFAP began programmatic work in Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania.
At the time of AFAP‘s official launch in Arusha, country managers and AFAP representatives were located in each of the three countries. In addition, substantive work was underway on Agribusiness Partnership Contracts (APCs), AFAP‘s innovative mechanism to increase fertilizer availability and use.
“APCs are the nuts and bolts of what AFAP does,” said AFAP Director of Programs, Cecilia Khupe, who addressed the audience. “The APC is an agreement that allows AFAP to provide assistance to private agribusinesses.”
The official AFAP launch was held as a side event during the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), a three-day gathering of experts dedicated to the growth and prosperity of the African agriculture sector. In addition to the launch program, AFAP also announced its arrival with a booth in the forum’s exhibition hall.
Professor Richard Mkandawire, AFAP vice president, served as master of ceremonies of the launch event, welcoming guests and introducing speakers. He also provided some background on AFAP.
“Africa is certainly going through an exciting phase of agricultural renaissance,” Mkandawire said. “There is clearly a new agricultural momentum underway that has, in the recent past, been rekindled by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).”