In efforts to improve Africa’s agricultural development and bridge the continent’s productivity gap, the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) and the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the 2014 IFA Strategic Forum held in Marrakech, Morocco.
The MoU signed by Jason Scarpone, AFAP’s President and CEO, and Charlotte Hebebrand, IFA’s Director General, saw both organizations who specialize in fertilizer issues pledging to collaborate on issues aimed at facilitating and supporting African smallholders’ access to fertilizers on the continent.
Scarpone said, “Agricultural productivity in Africa has become top priority in the continent as many leaders recognize the urgent need to pull millions out of extreme poverty.” He added, “There is no one magic solution reaching all of Africa’s development goals, and sustained partnerships with stakeholders across the fertilizer value chain are required if we are to make progress.” Patrick Heffer, Senior Director of Agriculture at IFA, who leads the Africa Forum, noted that “this strong partnership between our organizations will help speed up the improvement in fertilizer use that we are witnessing in Sub-Saharan Africa for a handful of years. It is only by working together that this trend can gain momentum, which is an essential building block of Africa’s agricultural development agenda”.
Through the MoU, AFAP and IFA have pledged to collaborate on a number of joint activities to engage and support private and public sector initiatives to identify, enable and deliver improvements in the fertilizer value chain that will strengthen availability and the value-cost ratio of fertilizer for farmers. In addition, both organizations will act as intermediaries between the private and public sectors to ensure that the goals of all parties are being met and that an enabling environment is developed and maintained consistent with the objectives set forth in the 2006 Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer to increase fertilizer use to 50 kg per hectare across the continent.
The two organizations are complementary. AFAP is an NGO established as part of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) that develops fertilizer value chain systems to support smallholder farmers in increasing agricultural productivity. IFA brings together all actors of the fertilizer value chain around the world and runs product and nutrient stewardship programmes relevant to AFAP’s objectives. It also mobilizes interest from potential investors through its Africa Forum.
IFA and AFAP have already been partnering in 2014 on the Smallholder’s Access to Fertilizers campaign, a call to African leaders to unlock fertilizer markets; and on the newly launched the African Fertilizer Volunteers’ Program, an initiative aimed at mobilizing global expertise in support of increasing smallholder fertilizer users and usage.