Only eight out of the 55 AU member states are on track in implementing the Abuja Declaration of consuming 50kg/ha of fertiliser as of 2017.
The Abuja Declaration which came into being in June 2006, when the African Heads of State and Government adopted the “Abuja Declaration on Fertiliser for the African Green Revolution” saw the AU Member States resolve to increase fertiliser use from 8.0 kilograms to 50.0 kilograms of nutrients per hectare by 2015.
This has not been achieved.
Fertiliser consumption, a crucial driver for increased agricultural productivity has experienced struggled in achieving the establishment of policies and regulatory frameworks and elimination of taxes and tariffs whose implementation has been unsatisfactory.
While factors such as the distance travelled to purchase fertilisers has been significantly reduced and a notable increase in the proportion of farmers using fertilisers can be seen, there are major gaps hindering the complete implementation of the Abuja Declaration including the lack of harmonisation on policy and regulation frameworks, lack of zero tax incentives, poor quality fertiliser standards and trade barriers.
Additionally, the lack of data on agricultural productivity market, trade finance opportunities, and smart market subsidies are key issues.
“Presently Kenya and Ethiopia account for 86 per cent of the fertiliser consumption growth rate,” said JJ. Rob Groot, Director of Global Field Program, IFDC.
The average fertiliser rate of application has been steady for the past year with African countries having an average of 1kg/ha/yr by 2021.
The growth of the fertiliser is expected to grow by 32 per cent in the continent.
To ensure that the Abuja Declaration is implemented, the African Union mandate has been to report on the progress made.
“We can report that Southern Africa region is leading in fertiliser consumption followed by North Africa, East and West Africa and lastly Central Africa,” said Dr Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission.
The incorporation of a wholistic ecosystem where all partners are able to collaborate is paramount for the Abuja declaration implementation.
The Africa African Development Bank has managed to implement interventions that could achieve this.
With one of the resolutions from the declaration being the adaptation of the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism (AFFM), $10 million had to be raised to make this attainable which took 10 years.
“The Africa Development Bank, AFDB, had to hire a coordinator who included key partners such as AGRA and the AU to act as a private governance council to oversee the AFFM activities,” said Dr. Martin Fregene, Director Agriculture and Agro-Industry, African Development Bank.
The AFFM, has offered loans of more than $400 million in financing projects to achieve the goals of Abuja Declaration.
“Three things are critical to finally realise the Abuja declaration. We need to finance the entire fertiliser value chain, support farmers through subsidies which must be smart and affordable and lastly ensure that there is an available market as agriculture cannot thrive without this”, continued Dr. Fregene.
The AFDDB initiative dubbed Technologies for African Transformation (TAAT) is working parallel with the AFFM and financial institutions to identify the right value chain actors and ensure accountability.
Moving forward, there needs to be a renewed commitment to the Abuja declaration and collaboration between governments, industries, development partners and financial partners.
Likewise, investing in big data since most of the available data is unreliable and lastly, there is an importance in broadening the scope of fertiliser, soil health, food nutrition, output markets and agribusiness as the key drivers.