West Africa Fertile for Agriculture and Agribusiness Investment to boost regional food security
ACCRA, Ghana, July 11 2017 â€“ Today over 250 visitors from 43 different countries have joined Hon. Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, Chairman of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), and other senior government figures, to discuss how farmers can obtain the right fertilizer, at the right time and for the right price. The event is a three day conference, organized by CRU (a leading, independent, global fertilizers analysis, consultancy and events business) and The African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP).
In his keynote address, Honourable Hackman Owusu-Agyemang commented â€œIt is a great privilege to be here among friends of the agriculture fraternity who are contributing collectively towards the sustainability of the sector in general and cocoa in particular. This conference is an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to existing friendships and partnerships and to forge an even greater sense of co-operation in the agricultural and cocoa value chain in Ghana and in the sub-region.â€
In regards to the role of fertilizers in boosting cocoa agribusiness the COCOBOD Chairman commented: â€œTo preserve the environment and to optimize returns from fertilizer application, COCOBOD is taking steps to ensure that fertilizer formulation for cocoa in Ghana is made site-specific, and to build up capacity of farmers on integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) for sustainable cocoa production.â€
â€œOur position is premised on the fact that many cocoa farmers in Ghana are characteristically smallholders and barely subsist with the associated production outputs from the smaller farm units they cultivate. Judicious use of farm input resources, including fertilizers, to optimize higher yields on these smallholdersâ€™ farmlands is considered one key strategy to improve productivity on our soils.â€
The keynote presentation is the first of over fifty presentations from fertilizer and agribusiness industry leaders such as Onajite Okoloko,Â Group Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director of Notore Chemical Industries, Madam Fatima Ali, President & Board Chair of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmerâ€™s Union and Dr. Harold Roy-Macauley, Director General of AfricaRice.
â€œOne significant factor which has limited fertilizer application rates in the region has been inadequate supply and access to fertilizers,â€ explained Peter Heffernan, Head of Fertilizers and Chemicals at CRU. â€œThere are hopeful signs that serious headway is finally being made in addressing some of these obstacles. The most obvious sign has been through investment in local fertilizer production capacity. Following the recommencement of West African urea production by Notore Chemicals in Nigeria in 2009, there has been a trickle of announcements which promise to turn West Africa into a major fertilizer producing region. While this does not guarantee an increase in regional growth in fertilizer consumption, improved availability of product locally is the first step in reducing the cost of fertilizers,â€ he continued.
Sessions at the conference include discussions of how ICT solutions can be applied to both the fertilizer supply chain and West African agribusiness development, financing tools to enable fertilizer trade and investment in the agribusiness and developing networks of warehouses, blenders, baggers and distributors that are a vital part of the fertilizer supply value chain.
â€œThis conference collaboration between CRU and the African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) â€“ could not have come at a better time when food security is at the top of the global agenda and more importantly, a talking point on the African continent. Agriculture is ticket out of poverty and the next frontier for Africaâ€™s economic growth,â€ said Dr. Namanga Ngongi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP).
- The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP)Â is an independent non-profit organization founded by a Partnership of African development organization. It provides services to the private and public sectors on sustainable development projects and policies focused on market-driven business solutions in fertilizer and agribusiness for agriculture productivity. AFAP combines technical expertise with entrepreneurial innovation. AFAP adds value to the fertilizer and agribusiness value chain by building the capacity and linking African Hub-Agrodealers and Smallholder Farmers to global fertilizer and food companies, balanced crop nutrition products, technology, financing, and equipment providers in Africa.
- CRU – founded in 1969, CRU Group (which stands for Commodities Research Unit) is the leading, independent, global metals, mining and fertilizers analysis, consultancy and conference business. CRU is located in London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Pittsburgh, Santiago, New York, Mumbai, Sydney, Tokyo and SÃ£o Paulo; and is dedicated to providing high quality analysis and insight to its global customer base. CRU employs more than 220 expert staff, including economists, engineers, metallurgists, geologists and chemists