Key stakeholders in West Africa’s fertiliser sector are calling for more action to support the industry, which is central to the continent’s agricultural revolution.
The call came out of the first West Africa Fertiliser Financing Forum, organized by the African Fertiliser Financing Mechanism and partners, and held at the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan recently.
A major outcome of the forum was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the West Africa Fertiliser Association and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The agreement aims to strengthen the fertiliser value chain in West Africa and set the scene for the implementation of the regional agenda on sustainable agriculture.
“After two intense days of discussions on concrete solutions, it is now time for us to follow up and make sure that what was said here becomes a reality,” said Marie Claire Kalihangabo, coordinator of the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism, which was established by the bank in 2007.
Fertiliser is cited as one of the key components in the 2006 Abuja Declaration on Fertiliser for the African Green Revolution. At the time, Africa’s fertiliser use averaged only eight kilograms per hectare, or 10 per cent of the world’s average, leading to low productivity.
Financing remains one of the missing links for a robust agricultural value chain in West Africa, participants said. They also pointed out that fertiliser suppliers and distributors are facing several challenges when it comes to accessing financing through commercial banks and other financial institutions. The challenges include limited working capital, a low equity base and lack of trust.