Feeding Africa’s soils Fertilizers to support Africa’s agricultural transformation

This book focuses on increasing the use of inorganic fertilizers as the most realistic way to overcome soil nutrient deficits and increase food production in sub-Saharan Africa. But merely increasing fertilizer use is by no means enough. Fertilizer must be combined with organic amendments to maintain soil carbon, promote soil biology and diversity, and improve soil health. Good agricultural practices are needed, including alleviating soil constraints and using improved germplasm. Together, these are the fundamentals of integrated soil fertility management. Many other components are also required: improved production techniques such as irrigation, soil and water conservation and mechanization, better pest and disease management, improved access to markets, better farmer organization, access to finance for inputs, and supportive policies, to name a few. The following chapters point out the relationships between increasing fertilizer use and these issues. Part 1, The fertilizer scene in subSaharan Africa Chapter 1, Overcoming food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, presents the fertilizer use status in Africa and describes the contributing factors. Chapter 2, Types of fertilizers, focuses on organic and inorganic fertilizers as sources of nutrients. A wide range of fertilizers exists, and the range is growing with the advent of new types and blends. Chapter 3, The Abuja Declaration on Fertilizers, reviews progress on the 12 resolutions that make up the 2006 Abuja Declaration. Part 2, The fertilizer value chain Chapter 4, The institutional landscape, examines the institutions that manage various aspects of fertilizers in sub-Saharan Africa: research and development, production, imports and distribution, financing, policy, and technical advisory services. Chapter 5, Fertilizer supply, examines the supply side of the equation. How can local production of fertilizer be increased? How can imports be increased and made cheaper? Chapter 6, Fertilizer distribution, focuses on getting fertilizers to farmers. How to bridge the gap between supply and demand? How to overcome inefficiencies in the distribution system? Chapter 7, Stimulating demand, discusses problems relating to demand for fertilizers, and how to stimulate it. Part 3, The enabling environment Chapter 8, Fertilizer policy, turns to the government actions and policies that affect the supply and demand for fertilizers. Chapter 9, Fertilizer subsidies, examines the role of subsidies in making fertilizers cheaper and more available to smallholders. Chapter 10, Finance for fertilizers, looks at the sources of finance for fertilizer. Chapter 11, Fertilizers and the environment, examines the impact of fertilizers on the soil, water and climate. Part 4, Synthesis Chapter 12, Lessons and prospects, summarizes the arguments in the book and makes some recommendations for the future directions of fertilizer in sub-Saharan Africa.
Fertilizers, Agriculture