Press Release: Sustain Africa Launch
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SUSTAIN AFRICA INITIATIVE LAUNCHES IN ZAMBIA
Lusaka, Zambia – November 3, 2023 – Sustain Africa and the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) proudly inaugurated the Sustain Africa Initiative in Zambia during an event held on Friday, November 3rd, 2023, at the Mosi-oa-Tunya Hall, Mulungushi International Conference Centre, in Lusaka, Zambia. The event represents a pivotal milestone in the ongoing efforts to combat the critical issue of food insecurity across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), driven by soaring fertilizer prices and three key challenges that have impacted the region since 2020 – COVID -19, the Russo-Ukrainian War, and more recently, currency devaluation fuelled by efforts to tame inflation in many western countries.
The Sustain Africa program, which runs until end April 2024 will deliver 20,000 metric tons of discounted fertilizer as well as improved farming inputs and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) training to 100,000 farmers in the 5 provinces of Zambia, namely Western, Northern, North-western, Luapula and Muchinga. The Sustain Africa program focuses on maize, rice, beans and soya beans which are critical staple crops for food security.
As the project implementor (and one of the Sustain Africa founding Board Members), AFAP will coordinate the efforts of ETG, Yara Fertilizers, FSG, IRM, Apollo Agriculture, UPL, Syngenta, Bayer and Ministry of Agriculture to deliver the programme.
Gene Phiri, Zambia Country Manager for AFAP, shared insights into the implementation plan for Sustain Africa – Zambia. He stated, “Under the project titled ‘Zambia Agricultural & Rural Household Food Security Intervention,’ we have outlined three key components: Enhancement of Last Mile Supply & Distribution of improved farming inputs & fertilizers, Demand Creation & SHF Technical Support with Partnering Suppliers, and Monitoring and Evaluation.”
One of the unique aspects of this programme is that it includes the supply of fertilizer on reduced price basis with orders that are aggregated through farmer co-operatives. This gets farmers out of the cycle of not using fertilizer because they have no access to affordable fertilizers from buying points that are far from their farmlands, and no technical after sale support.
Ben Valk, Executive Director of Sustain Africa, emphasized the importance of the initiative, saying, “Although International fertilizer prices have come down since the 2022 price spike, retail prices have not in many countries, including Zambia where 2023 retail fertilizer prices are still almost 3 times higher than in 2019. If farmers cannot afford fertilizer for staple crops, we risk increased food insecurity at both household and national level. Sustain Africa is therefore grateful for the efforts of the programme partners in ensuring an affordable supply of fertilizer to farmers who most need it.”
Michael Sudarkasa, CEO of AFAP, addressed the industry’s response to the global fertilizer crisis. He highlighted key strategies, stating, “We are responding to the global fertilizer crisis through leveraging existing industry relationships, in-country convening and coordination capacity, bottom-up knowledge sharing, rapid response experience, secondment of personnel, leveraging public-private dialogue facilitation experience, and leveraging on-the-ground presence.”
AFAP is the largest implementer of Sustain Africa projects in Africa and is crucial to achieving the goals of the program.
John Mukuka, CEO of COMESA, expressed his support for the initiative, stating, “We recognize and appreciate the value of Sustain Africa as a mechanism for coordinating suppliers, implementing partners, donors and government in order to ensure the availability and affordability of fertilizer to some of the hardest-hit farmers on the continent. Together, we are committed to driving sustainable agricultural development in Zambia and beyond.
The event featured presentations on the goals and objectives of Sustain Africa from representatives of partnering organizations, including Syreeta Chitengi, General Manager, Yara, Rajendran Ganapathi Country Manager for ETG Zambia, Daniel Maimbo Director FSG Zambia, Kobus Smith Country Manager – OMNIA Zambia. Reverend Willie Simfukwe, Chairman of the Northern Province Farmers Union, provided remarks on behalf of cooperative farmers.
The launch event was followed by a networking session and lunch, providing attendees with an opportunity to connect and explore additional potential collaborations.
The Sustain Africa Initiative in Zambia is poised to play a pivotal role in addressing food insecurity and enhancing food production in the region. AFAP remains dedicated to working with partners to ensure sustainable agricultural development and improved livelihoods for smallholder farmers in Zambia and across Africa.
For media inquiries and further information, about AFAP or the Sustain Africa Zambia programme, please contact:
African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP)
For further information about Sustain Africa and its programmes in other countries, please contact:
Frances Bell, Learning, operations and communications lead, Sustain Africa