In 2009, SSA farmers used an average of 13kg/hectare, compared to 94kg in our other developing countries counterparts. Clearly the need is here. But then there must be a Policy rationale, a policy dialogue, a road map as far as improving usage of best bet fertilizer package.
In countries where fertilizer is well seated into their national agricultural framework, it has been used in sync with other input: applied without holistic soil’ health improvement and ecosystem, fertilizers would not mean a thing, next to no nutrients are retained in the soil and absorbed by crops, opening the door to costly problems like nitrogen leaching.
Specific to this policy dialogue, fertilizers must be coupled with conservation farming techniques, adapted knowledge transfer modules (literacy campaigns), crop rotation, intercropping, farm level recycling all of which that would improve soil fertility while maintaining crop productivity.
This above is not a simplistic Policy agenda, nor it could happen unilaterally… Both national and regional agricultural research systems must pledge and deliver jointly, synergizing their capabilities. Ultimately besides domestic institutional commitment only then one can significantly avail of official development assistance expertise. Policymaking at this stage should meet criteria set forth under the SDGs 2016 onward milestone, a great opportunity for private sector to crowding in.
Fertilizers’ subsidies cannot help meet the challenge of African agriculture in this 21st century. Successes of spotted rural insurance in Africa has built on a proactive blend of consultative platform with multiple touchpoints enough to have a strong feel of risk exposure and collaterals associated with a rural “enterprise”… When farmers are clearly provided with the “right” risk mitigation strategy, there is no reason why they won't take it.
If there is an all-important component crucial consideration inherent to such above outline, it must be on outreach and communication. Because local governments, despite theoretically “ambitious” NDPs (national development plans) are not getting the interconnectedness of fertilizer component with regards to their agricultural policy, such outreach and communication schemes should be continually pursued enough to be part of any extension strategy.
Ultimately a PPP model could host the hybrid regional body in charge for such a policy formulation, enactment and enforcement as its sole role to carry on.
Unfortunately, the last time I checked, Policy harmonization, synergizing and emulation’ support is one of the least supported areas of most donors, each having its own “policy” to prevail at the table… That is a... the problem!