Smart Fertilization and Water Management- Kenya-Netherlands Aid-and-Trade opportunities

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Bindraban, Prem S.
Lawrence Mose
Michiel Hillen
María Ruipérez González
Mauritis Voogt
Johan Leenaars
Kees Langeveld
Nico Heerink
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The proposed intervention is at the heart of the basic requirements for sustainably increasing agricultural productivity. Its validity has been proven in other parts of the world but needs to be adapted for local production, ecological, and socio-economic conditions. The nature of this intervention and the proposed approach for its implementation are not meant merely to be a one- time effort that ends after a project period but to be an integral part of the business and institutional environment. The team recommends two additional phases after this feasibility study - a demonstration phase, which is outlined in this document, and an implementation phase to mainstream the demonstrated effects in businesses and institutions. These two phases can also be smoothly merged. For decades, point-based agronomic experiments have been carried out to determine the impact of fertilization and other measures on crop response, but this information could not be extrapolated to larger areas because of specific soil and water conditions. This is especially true for Kenya. Current agro-ecological knowledge, combined with advanced IT- and satellite-based big-data analytical methodologies, allows for such specification and extrapolation. In this case, it will generate information about the total amount of specific nutrients (macro and micro) and other inputs required at local and regional scales. Chain actors can use the information to enhance their businesses. For example, farmers can select the most appropriate business solutions. Fertilizer companies can understand the potential market size and the exact formulation of fertilizer products required in their region: they also can explore available local sources of nutrients (recycle material). Logistics companies will be able to design optimal logistical solutions and agro dealers can tailor their distribution networks. Governments win be able to better direct their policies by stimulating the use of specific products. With advancements in the analytical methodology, the information may also lead to more accurate estimates of expected harvest volumes to inform buyers and to guide policymakers in their decisions about the amount and timing of food imports, if needed. This study reveals that accelerating maize and potato productivity and nutritional quality is feasible because: (1) the agro-technical opportunities to sustainably boost productivity, particularly smart fertilizers and water management, are large; (2) the Kenyan market has most basic elements in place, but (3) many relevant actors in Kenya run solitary operations to provide farmers with (their) specific products but lack the capacity to assess and develop the market, for which they call upon public sector support; (4) supporting Kenyan knowledge and governmental institutions already have basic understanding about the need for the proposed approach but lack oversight and capacity to generate the required information, (5) which can be created in collaboration with Netherlands knowledge institutions; (6) industry parties in Kenya and beyond are eager to develop the Kenyan market; (7) financial parties are willing to provide services to chain actors under transparent market conditions; and (8) policy regulations could be adapted in support of the interventions informed by multi-stakeholder governing platforms, such as a National Fertilizer Board. The uniqueness of this methodology goes beyond approaches and initiatives that take part of the equation into consideration. We propose to develop a science-supported implementation program that combines advanced agro-technical insights for sustainable intensification with business opportunities for chain actors and the creation of enabling conditions. While this case has been developed specifically for Kenya, the approach is applicable for any other country in sub-Saharan Africa. Methodological innovations contained in the proposed demonstration/implementation phase include the following: o Bottom-up agro-technical approach with farm participation and top-down advanced satellite and big-data analyses: o Advanced geo-spatial extrapolation methodologies of soil data points (FAO-endorsed). o Location-specific fertilizer and water management within the context of farm practices. o On-farm and on-station trials for ground-truthing and verification of fertilizer responses. Advanced, rapid, and automated (spectroscopic) soil testing. o Satellite imaging and processing for spatial-temporal water use optimization (FAO- endorsed). o Modeling and expert judgement-based analytical methodology for fertilizer recommendations. • Business cases: • Enhanced business opportunities for agro-dealers. • Increased farm-level food and nutrition security and household income. •Contracts and agreements between farm producers and buyers. o International opportunities for trade in fertilizers and improved seeds • National business opportunities for blended fertilizers. Portfolio of financial services and credit facilities for chain actors. Enabling conditions: •Facilitate development of a National Fertilizer Platform (NFP) with PPP actors. •NFP to agree on actions to stimulate the development of the novel fertilizer market. •Inform value chain actors about volumes of region-specific fertilizers for investment decisions. •Inform about water management practices to increase water use efficiency. •Enhance national capacity for seed production and testing Outcomes include: •National awareness among actors to jointly unlock the potential of innovative fertilization. •Joint creation of enabling conditions. •Value chain actors acting in harmony. •Learning by combined theory and practice. • •Optimized use of natural resources, improvement of soil health, and an end to soil degradation through use of organic and inorganic fertilization. •Increased maize and potato production for improved nutritional quality and reduced •Increased on-farm food and nutrition security and income. •Enhanced international trade in agro-inputs. •Vibrant value chains in maize and potato.
Water management
Bindraban, P., L. Mose, M. Hillen, M. Ruiperez Gonzalez, M. Voogt, J. Leenaars, K. Langeveld, and N. Heerink. 2018. Smart Fertilization and Water Management – Kenya-Netherlands Aidand-Trade Opportunities, IFDC Report 2018/1, International Fertilizer Research Center, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA.