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.
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.
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.