It is essential for a fertilizer law to be enacted in Mozambique to improve access and use of fertilizer in the country, a recent meeting held in the country and organised by the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Platform (AFAP) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), heard.
This view was expressed by Mr Carlos Zandamela, President of the Mozambican Association for Dialogue and Promotion of Fertilizer Use (AMOFERT), at the recently convened Mozambique Fertilizer Policy workshop held at the end of November 2015.
The law would enable execution of the regulations currently in place for promotion of fertilizer. “Policy statements advocate the transformation of the current subsistence-oriented agriculture in Mozambique to an increasingly market oriented agriculture. However, the country has not yet been able to efficiently articulate and put into practice necessary measures to allocate resources to develop the fertilizer sector,” said Mr Zandamela.
The workshop aimed to assess the country’s progress towards the implementation of the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer; the status of fertilizer policy and regulations as well as present and get stakeholder feedback on the preliminary findings of the AFAP study on fertilizer policies, regulations and standards in Mozambique, including the fertilizer trade policy.
In June 2006, the African Union Special Summit of the Heads of State and Government adopted the 12-Resolution “Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the African Green Revolution”. One of the resolutions focused on increasing fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa from an average 8 kilograms then, to 50 kilograms per hectare by 2015. Currently, the region utilizes an average 12 kg of fertilizer per hectare, according to The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA). In Asia, the average per hectare is about 200kg.
The meeting was a follow up to a July 15th 2015 roundtable, organised by AFAP and IFPRI, where country representatives from Nigeria, Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya and Ethiopia made presentations in Johannesburg. They agreed that governments needed to do more to meet the recommendations of the Abuja Declaration. AFAP and IFPRI are now taking these discussions to the country level.
“Though some progress has been made at the country level, particularly in increasing fertilizer use, many constraints remain, including weak agro-dealer networks; high transaction costs; and unsustainable subsidy programs, among others,” acknowledged Dr. Teunis van Rheenen, IFPRI’s Head of Partnerships and Business Development.
Addressing the meeting, AFAP regional director for East and Southern Africa, Dr Maria Wanzala said: “The market is not sufficiently regulated. There is need for the enactment of the fertilizer law to promote private sector investment in the fertilizer supply chain.”
Mozambican national director for Agriculture, Mohamed Rafik Valá, noted that the country’s low productivity levels were a result of low adoption of productivity enhancing technologies such as seed and fertilizer. He also lamented the low rates of fertilizer consumption among smallholder farmers in the country which is less that 10kg per hectare. He unequivocally stated his support for a fertilizer law to regulate the industry and provide confidence to both private sector investors and farmers, the ultimate users of fertilizers.
The meeting was attended by several delegates from the private and public sectors and non-governmental organisations.