The video, launched during the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Ethiopia is a call to African Leaders to note and address the bottlenecks that continue to throttle expanded fertilizer use by smallholder farmers.
African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Rhoda Peace Tumussiime said that the challenges found along the fertilizer value chain are multi-dimensional and should be addressed holistically.
â€œThe issue of smallholder farmersâ€™ access to fertilizer has several dimensions: economic accessibility, physical accessibility, and always forgotten but critical is knowledge accessibility,â€ Tumussime said.
The video campaign called for six key actions to help the African continent address some key access to fertilizer challenges, namely:
- Facilitate local production and imports of fertilizers
- Provide better access to credit, finance and insurance
- Invest in infrastructure which connects farmers to input and output markets
- Develop mobile technologies
- Train more extension workers to work with farmers
- Disseminate best practices based on the integration of both organic and mineral nutrients and balanced fertilization, such as the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Framework and Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM)
Dr Amos Namanga Ngongi , AFAPâ€™s Board cCairman during the launch said, â€œNext year we should be celebrating 50kg/per hectare as per the commitments made in the Abuja declaration, however, numbers Â remain startlingly low–on average, smallholder farmers use less that 10 kg of Fertilizer per hectare, a tenth of the global average.â€
According to Charlotte Hebebrand, IFA Director General, â€œFertilizer use in Africa remains startlingly low compared to other regions, with average use at around 10 kg/ha, a tenth of the global average.â€ As the voice of the global fertilizer industry, IFA aims to raise awareness on fertilizerâ€™s role in reducing the yield gap and driving African agricultural development.
African leaders have pledged in the 2006 Abuja Declaration to bridge this gap and increase fertilizer use to 50 kg/ha by 2015. However, very few countries have met this goal.
â€œDeveloping agri-inputs supply chains in Africa,â€ said Commissioner Tumusiime, â€œis key to increasing the productivity and competitiveness of agrifood systems. Realizing the potential for agricultural transformation to yield broad-based prosperity and help extricate a majority of African people, especially youth and women, from poverty will require access to such inputs but also many other investments.â€
Closing the session, Dr Namanga Ngongi said AFAP would remain committed to working with industry partners, and exhausting different platforms to spread the message of â€˜increased fertilizer use leads to increased yields and healthy crops.â€