Feeding Africa’s soils: Fertilizer policy

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Fertilizer production and utilization in Africa are profoundly influenced by governmental policies at both national and regional levels. These policies have extensive ramifications across the fertilizer value chain, including finance availability, pricing, institutional arrangements, infrastructure development, and market dynamics. Despite substantial investments and policy efforts, Africa still faces challenges in achieving agricultural transformation through improved fertilizer use. This chapter explores the significance of policy and regulatory frameworks in shaping fertilizer industries, detailing policy formulation processes and implementation experiences across selected countries in Africa. It highlights the prevalence of subsidies as a key policy tool but also delves into the myriad challenges, including bureaucratic hurdles, financial constraints, market inefficiencies, and regulatory shortcomings. The chapter emphasizes the need for private sector involvement, market competitiveness, and policy reform to address these obstacles and enhance fertilizer accessibility, quality, and affordability for smallholder farmers. Furthermore, it examines the complexities of policy development and implementation, emphasizing the technical and political dimensions involved. The chapter concludes with insights into specific country experiences, offering a comprehensive overview of fertilizer policy landscapes, regulatory mechanisms, and ongoing challenges in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi.