Policymakers, investors, as well as other players in the agriculture industry across 18 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa can now access relevant, accurate, and timely data on fertilizers, a critical input in plugging the continent’s food supply gap.
The development, which is also billed to help boost farmers’ yields and enhance food security, follows the rebranding and launch of AfricaFertilizer.org, a new-look web portal that has vast data and up-to-date information on the key farm input for over a dozen countries across Sub-Saharan Africa.
The website will go a long way in providing decision-makers in both public and private sectors with data and information that will help promote debate on fertilizer production, market, and usage in various countries in Africa.
“We are here not only to support this initiative but to support businesses to make decisions that will help feed individuals beyond Africa,” said Mr Harry Kimutai, who is the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture during the launch held in Nairobi.
“I’m encouraged by seeing such kinds of conferences where we’re passing information to the policy shapers of the country. Our target is that farmer… so that they are food secure,” he added.
The new AfricaFertilizer.org platform builds upon previous work by displaying fertilizer data on trade, production, usage, and retail prices for up to 18 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in addition to integrating the current data dashboards for Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana.
The interactive AfricaFertilizer.org will see users customize data visualizations for cross-country comparisons, a critical feature in decision making.
It will also allow stakeholders to monitor and track the progress made in meeting the targets identified in the 2006 Abuja Declaration, using verified data.
The move will also position Africa Fertilizer Organization (AFO) as the primary data source for fertilizer data in African and serve as a trustworthy source to inform analysis and planning in advance of the 2023 African Union Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit and the design and monitoring of the 10-year action plan on fertilizer in Africa.
The partnership will prioritize engagement with the African Union Commission to build a bridge to AU member countries, with the aim of having AFO recognized as an official data partner.
What’s more, AfricaFertilizer.org will also display the recently launched Africa Fertilizer Watch, a monitoring and early warning systems tool on the impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had on the fertilizer markets of 10 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa as well as other indicators tracking overall market risk, affordability, availability, and distribution of fertilizer.
“If we really want to improve food security, we need more fertilizer to go to staple crops as well and a need for fertilizer to go to smallholder farmers as well. Having the data will tell the whole story,” explained Patrick Heffer, the Deputy Director-General of the International Fertilizer Association.
“We welcome the increasing diversity of products, specifically those that are crop and soil specific… There is a need to pay more attention to micronutrients. KG/HA is important, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. We need complementary indicators,” he added.
The new website is a result of collaboration between AFO, the premier source for fertilizer statistics and information in Africa; digital solutions provider Development Gateway, the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), and Wallace & Associates (W&A), an entity that has been involved in the strategic design of agriculture development projects with a strong focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.
The development of the website began with a scoping mission to identify needs and gaps in data in the fertilizer sector. This was followed by a co-design workshop to validate the findings.