Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit

Day one of the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit (AFSHS) brought together over 4,000 stakeholders including key government officials, Regional Economic Blocs, private organizations, and other key stakeholders.

The meet-up was held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on May 7th,2024 in Nairobi, Kenya to evaluate the state of Africa’s fertilizer use and soil health.

It also reviewed the progress made since the 2006 Abuja declaration that aimed to boost fertilizer Growth.

At the convening, it was established that despite multiple efforts Africa still falls short of the Abuja declaration targets. Fertilizer consumption in Africa has only risen from 8kg/ha to below 25 kg/ha since 2006, far below the 50kg/ha target.

(AFSHS) brought together over 4,000 stakeholders including key government officials, Regional Economic Blocs, private organizations, and other key stakeholders. Photo by Africa Union

” The African soils have reached a tipping point with low levels of soil organic matter and nutrient stocks, limiting the potential benefits of inorganic fertilizer and plant genetic improvements for smallholder farmers. The Agenda on African soil Health is a matter of urgency and collaborative actions must be taken,” acknowledged Amb. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, AU commissioner for agriculture, rural development, blue economy, and sustainable environment.

Dr. Musalia Mudavadi, Kenya’s Prime Cabinet secretary for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, also reiterated some of the key commitments and declarations by the Heads of State and Government to drive agricultural productivity to improve food and nutrition security.

“Key among these commitments is the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, which was endorsed at the second ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo. The Declaration contained several important decisions but prominent among them was the commitment to the allocation of at least 10 percent of National budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years,”Musalia.

Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, while reaffirming AGRA’s role in the Fertiliser and Soil pointed out that despite the gap there were still countries that were making notable strides in agriculture through effective fertilizer utilization.

“Drawing from studies conducted in Malawi and Ethiopia, theirs a correlation between soil composition and human nutrition. The presence of essential nutrients like zinc in the soil directly influences the nutritional value of produce, underlining the critical importance of soil health for overall nutrition,” explained Dr. Kalibata.

The session highlighted key commitments and declarations made by the Heads of State and Government to drive agricultural productivity to improve food and nutrition security.Photo by Africa Union

Additionally, the discussions shed light on the agricultural practices in France over the past 60 to 70 years. It was noted that despite using the same land, France has managed to feed three times its current population. This has been attributed to the strategic use of nitrogen and organic fertilizers in farming, underlining the transformative impact of innovative agricultural approaches on productivity and sustainability.

” From insights given, there’s an emphasis on the importance of deliberate policy decisions to increase fertilizer usage. In alignment with CAADP and Malabo frameworks, notably, effective policy implementation and intentional decision-making are pivotal in the battle for soil health,” Prof.Jean Jacques Muhinda Regional Director AGRA.

The discussions established that to create such a narrative of self-sufficiency, it was essential for the 10-year Action Plan to be effective. This would in turn enable other countries to confidently partner with Africa in improving its agricultural practices due to existing data and facts.

The session also explored the pivotal role of the youth in shaping the future of farming and development. It was noted that realizing the full potential of youth entrepreneurship in agriculture required a multifaceted approach. The provision of resources while equipping them with the necessary knowledge and skills would enable them to thrive in the ever-evolving industry.

“CAYAC stands committed to empowering the youth in sustainable farming and development. Investing in our youth is investing in the future of agriculture,” affirmed Janet Ademe, Head of the Rural Development Division at the African Union Commission.

The convention is set to end on May 9th with the first meet-up emphasizing strategic investments, and a unified narrative would lead to the continent’s food security and healthy agricultural practices.

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