Improving Regional Fertilizer Markets in West Africa

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In 2000, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) committed to halving hunger and poverty by 2015, necessitating a 6.8 percent annual growth in agriculture. However, from 2000 to 2009, West African agriculture grew at a rate of only 3.7 percent due to various constraints. To achieve sustained agricultural growth, there is a need for increased productivity through the adoption of improved technologies and inputs. Fertilizer use and access to improved seeds are particularly crucial. This study examines the constraints in West African fertilizer markets and suggests policy, institutional, and infrastructure improvements to address them. The lack of a well-established regional fertilizer market, oligopolistic import structures, high financing costs, and supply chain inefficiencies hinder fertilizer accessibility and affordability. The study recommends creating a common regional fertilizer market, removing barriers, enhancing supply chain efficiencies, and harmonizing regulations. On the demand side, efforts to strengthen farmer domains through farmer organizations, research and extension, and training are proposed. By addressing both supply-side and demand-side constraints, West Africa can advance agricultural productivity and food security, with a particular focus on fertilizer market development.
Agricultural productivity, Smallholder farmers, Economic growth