IFDC Report, Volume 32, No. 3

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The Agricultural Input Markets Strengthening (AIMS) project, led by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), aims to address the unique challenges faced by the agri-input sector in Mozambique. Despite abundant land for farming, Mozambique struggles with low fertilizer use, resulting in low crop yields compared to other African countries. The AIMS project, sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), collaborates with the public and private sectors to improve the availability, affordability, and quality of agri-inputs, including fertilizers and improved seeds. One of the critical issues in Mozambique's agri-input market is the high cost of fertilizers, exacerbated by the expensive transportation process. Most fertilizers are imported from South Africa, increasing prices due to transportation costs. Paradoxically, higher fertilizer use would contribute to lowering costs. Moreover, the lack of credit options hampers access to inputs, as farmers and dealers cannot use land as collateral. The AIMS project aims to address these challenges by providing training, encouraging agri-input businesses, and facilitating the establishment of demonstration plots to showcase the benefits of using inputs. The project also seeks to leverage Mozambique's local resources, such as natural gas and phosphate rock, to explore the feasibility of establishing a fertilizer-blending facility near the Beira port. Additionally, partnerships with organizations like IITA and ICRISAT aim to improve the production and availability of soybeans, cowpeas, maize, and groundnut seeds. These efforts target increasing local poultry production and reducing import dependence. To enhance agri-input distribution, the AIMS project explores the potential of farmer organizations, such as IKURU, to become input distributors and import fertilizers for their members. The project aims to gradually increase imports to serve larger areas and a growing number of farmers. Strengthening linkages between U.S. and African research institutes is another crucial aspect, enabling the rollout of improved technologies and practices to remote farming areas. Furthermore, the report discusses the West Africa Cotton Improvement Program (WACIP) implemented by IFDC in collaboration with various partners. WACIP aims to improve cotton production, ginning, and textile operations in Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali. By introducing sustainable agricultural practices, alternative crops, and niche processing and marketing opportunities, WACIP aims to enhance farmers' incomes and environmental sustainability.
Value chains, Agricultural Inputs, Fertilizers