Experts call for local production of organic fertilizers
African states should promote and accelerate the local production of organic fertilizers. This is the main recommendation of an international webinar organised on 30 July 2022 by Agri Digitale under the theme “Agriculture in Africa and the surge in fertiliser prices: challenges and prospects”.
African agriculture is going through a difficult period, marked by the crisis in agricultural inputs, particularly fertilizers. Necessary for soil revitalisation, fertilisers are becoming increasingly scarce in Africa, and this is inevitably accompanied by an unprecedented price increase of between 50% and 100%. Unable to withstand such a price hike, some producers have drastically reduced their cultivated area, while others have switched to crops that require less fertiliser.
It is in this context that Agridigitale, a news magazine on African agriculture, organised in collaboration with the Network of Agricultural Journalists of Ecowas (REJA-CEDEAO), an international webinar on the theme: “Agriculture in Africa and soaring fertiliser prices: Issues and prospects”.
Local production of organic fertilizers
After taking stock of the fertilizer crisis in Africa, the panelists of this online conference proposed several solutions, including the local production of organic fertilizers. “The African farmer must produce his own organic fertiliser. If we manage to produce our own fertilisers from what we have, we will be able to avoid being hit by all these external factors,” said Pascaline Yao, an agro-ecologist and organic fertiliser producer in Ivory Coast.
Local production of organic fertilisers not only gives African agriculture security, but also an ideal in terms of sustainable agriculture. The use of organic inputs promotes soil conservation and enables sustainable management of the soil and its fertility.
Indeed, the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) has been warning about the evolution of fertilizer prices in Africa since 2020. “In 2021, many countries were unable to import sufficient quantities because prices were very high, but again in 2022, there are availability problems because the crisis in Ukraine has aggravated the situation,” explains Samuel Goulivas, fertiliser market analyst at IFDC.
According to IFDC forecasts, fertiliser prices will either remain at current levels or rise slightly in 2023. As a result, agricultural yields, especially for cereals (maize), will fall by 10-15 million tonnes this year. This will lead to massive imports of rice and other staple foods in Africa.