IFDC Publications

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    Assessment of the Effectiveness of Agro-dealer Development Activities Conducted by USAID-AIMS Project in Mozambique: Agricultural Input Markets Strengthening (AIMS) III: June 2015.
    (2015) Latha Nagarajan; Alexander Fernando; Leonardo, W; Matias, A.; Goncalvez, G.
    Agro-dealer development was one of the key components of the USAID-funded Agricultural Input Market Strengthening (AIMS) project implemented by the International Fertilizer Develpoment Center (IFDC) in Mozambique. AIMS focused on creating an extensive network of input suppliers/retailers, equipping them with business and technical knowledge and strengthening their capacity through credit, information and policy to meet the demand. Since 2006, AIMS has directly trained 201 agro-dealers covering both Beira and Nacala corridors. AIMS-IFDC staff in Mozambique conducted a rapid impact assessment of agro-dealers during July-September 2014. The purpose of this assessment was to profile and document the contribution of the AIMS project toward establishing sustained agricultural input networks and providing inputs accessible to smallholders in Mozambique. This was done on a limited scale by comparing a few key parameters with the baseline conducted in 2006 before the start of the program, and subsequently by a detailed survey assessment among dealers who were trained by the USAID-AIMS project vs. those who were not trained but are operating agro-input businesses in the project areas. In general, the agro-dealers have observed an increased demand for agricultural inputs among farmers in the last five years. Sixty percent of the sample in the survey (both trained and non-trained) said their businesses have doubled in the last three to four years. Demand for improved varieties of maize and beans have gone up along with use of fertilizers (NPK and urea) for these crops. Distances traveled by farmers to access farm inputs have reduced substantially with improved dealer networks. There were significant differences among the constraints faced by trained vs. non-trained agro-dealers in expanding their business operations.
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    Soil Nutrients: The Key to Meeting the Triple Global Challenge of Food and Nutrition Security, Climate, and Biodiversity
    (2021-07-14) Bindraban, Prem S.; R. Groot; Upendra Singh
    This article discusses the critical role of soil nutrients, including nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and other micronutrients, in addressing the global challenges of food and nutrition security, climate change, and biodiversity. The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) emphasizes the importance of soil health and plant nutrition, especially in the context of the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). The article highlights the need to raise awareness about soil nutrients, particularly in Africa, where soil nutrient deficiencies are prevalent. It also addresses the excessive or inadequate use of mineral fertilizers and emphasizes the importance of efficient nutrient management. The article concludes by advocating for collective investments in soil health and the development of smart fertilizers to support sustainable and profitable food production in Africa.
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    Agricultural Transformation, Developments, and Strategies in Africa
    (2022-08-04) Oumou Camara; Bindraban, Prem S.; William Adzawla
    This article discusses agricultural transformation, developments, and strategies in Africa, highlighting the challenges and opportunities facing the continent. It examines the importance of agricultural development in Africa's economy and its role in achieving food security and reducing poverty. Despite various initiatives and commitments by African countries and international organizations, progress in agricultural transformation has been slow. The article emphasizes the need for sustainable approaches to address challenges such as land degradation, climate change, and inefficient fertilizer use. It also calls for improved infrastructure, technology adoption, and policy support to boost agricultural productivity and ensure food security for Africa's growing population.
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    Seed Policy Reforms in Zambia
    (2020-03-09) Latha Nagarajan; A. Naseem; Carl E. Pray
    This study highlights the critical role of technological change in raising agricultural productivity to enhance farm incomes, alleviate rural poverty, and sustain economic growth. It emphasizes the underutilization of technology, particularly improved varieties (IVs), in many countries, with a specific focus on sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The study traces historical impediments to the adoption of new agricultural varieties in SSA, including slow varietal releases, government controls, and policy constraints. Furthermore, it elucidates the pivotal policy shifts in Zambia since the mid-1990s, which transitioned the nation from a stagnant public seed industry to a thriving private sector-driven seed market. These reforms, influenced by diverse economic interest groups and research studies, have significantly improved the formal seed system in Zambia. Key metrics demonstrate the competitive maize seed sector, increased variety registrations, maize seed exports, and notable maize yield growth, positioning Zambia as a leader in maize yields within Africa. This transformation underscores the vital role of policy reform and private sector engagement in catalyzing agricultural productivity and economic development in SSA.
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    This War Will Claim More Lives through Hunger in Africa than Violence in Ukraine
    (2022-04-25) Bindraban, Prem S.
    In the opinion piece "This War Will Claim More Lives through Hunger in Africa than Violence in Ukraine," Dr. Prem Bindraban examines the impending humanitarian crisis in Africa due to heightened hunger, potentially outweighing the toll of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The article underscores the vulnerability of African nations, where a significant portion of household income is spent on food, and a quarter of the population struggles with food security. The confluence of factors, including the impact of COVID-19 and disruptions in fertilizer supply due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, threatens to reduce food production by up to a third. The author critiques the historical neglect of African agriculture in favour of raw material export, a stance reinforced by global policies that curtailed agricultural support. As population growth accelerates, the article calls for a holistic approach to agricultural development in Africa, drawing inspiration from successful models in Asia. The importance of reasonable fertilizer use, sustainable land and water management, and international collaboration is emphasized to prevent worsening hunger and foster Europe and Africa's prosperity