fertilizer

Overview of the Fertilizer Supply Chain in Selected Countries

The fertilizer industry is characterized by high levels of concentration along the supply chain. According to the International Fertilizer Development Center, nine countries control more than 50 percent of nitrogen (ammonia, urea) and phosphate (DAP/MAP) production capacity, while only five countries control 79 percent of potash (MOP) production capacity. Developing regions such as Africa south of the Sahara are also highly dependent on imported fertilizer. In addition, the level of fertilizer use in Africa south of the Sahara remains far below other developing regions (around 10kg.

Fertilizer Subsidies in Ghana

Subsidies to promote fertilizer use have become a popular policy in Africa south of the Sahara, aimed at increasing the region’s lagging agricultural production. However, new research from Ghana, published in Food Security, suggest that fertilizer subsidies alone may not be enough to encourage greater fertilizer application and increase farm productivity.

Weather Risks and Input Adoption

Maize makes up an important staple crop in much of Africa south of the Sahara, but maize production carries with it some inherent risks. One of the most significant risks faced by maize farmers is weather.

Inorganic and Organic Fertilizers in Nigeria

Fertilizers, particularly inorganic (chemical) fertilizers, have the ability to substantially increase farmers’ agricultural productivity.  However, in Nigeria, fertilizer use remains low; according to a new AGRODEP working paper, inorganic fertilizer use in Nigeria is 11.3kg/ha and organic fertilizer use is only 0.2kg/ha. This puts Nigeria well below the targeted 50 kg/ha set forth in the Abuja Declaration.

Malawi's Food-Insecure Population Expected to Grow

For the second year in a row, Malawi is facing a national maize deficit. In the 2016-2017 marketing year, the maize supply gap is expected to be 953,000 MT, according to a new Food Security Outlook from FEWS Net.

Senegal's Fertilizer Subsidy: Boon for Agricultural Productivity?

In 2006, the African Union Ministers of Agriculture met in Abuja, Nigeria to discuss how to improve the region’s agricultural productivity through the increased use of fertilizers. The main goal of the subsequent Abuja Declaration was a regional increase in the level of fertilizers used from 8 kilograms per hectare to at least 50 kilograms per hectare by 2015. The Declaration also revived interest in the use of input subsidy programs.

Ethiopia's Wheat Value Chain

Wheat plays a leading role in both the diet and the economy of Ethiopia. According to research conducted by IFPRI for the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), wheat is the fourth most widely grown crop in the country (after teff, maize, and sorghum) and ranks fourth (tied with teff) in terms of the gross value of production. In addition, wheat and wheat products make up 14 percent of the country’s total caloric intake.

Driving Agricultural Adaptation

Agriculture in West Africa faces numerous challenges, including soil degradation, market instability, and significant threats from climate change. In response to these obstacles, many adaptation strategies, such as production of non-traditional crop varieties, have been encouraged. It remains less clear, however, what actually drives farmers’ decisions to adopt (or not adopt) these strategies. For example, a farmer may choose to plant a new crop variety in response to a short-term drought or as part of a longer term strategy to adapt to climate change. 

Way Ahead for Agricultural Productivity

Agricultural Productivity in Africa

Farmers Leading the Way

Focusing on agricultural growth, particularly that of smallholder farmers, can help countries in Africa south of the Sahara achieve broader economic and development objectives, including poverty reduction, says a new open-access book prepared by the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER) and published by Oxford Press.

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