IFDC Announces an International Workshop on:
Fertilizer Policy and Marketing Strategies in Africa
July 4-8, 2011
The 2007-2008 food and fertilizer crisis, referred to as the Silent Tsunami, alerted both policymakers and agricultural sector specialists that the war on food front is not over and sustainable food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is still a daunting challenge. More than one-half of the total African population lives below the poverty line and approximately one-third suffers from hunger and malnutrition.
The food crisis resulting from skyrocketing food and fertilizer prices also increased the number of people around the world living below the poverty line from over 850 million before the crisis to over one billion in 2010. Most of the increased incidence of poverty occurred in SSA and South Asia. Affected by increased demand in emerging markets and reduced supply due to natural disasters around the world, food and commodity prices began rising in 2010 and have continued to rise in 2011.
In response to the 2007- 2008 food crisis, many policymakers, private sector entrepreneurs and development partners recognized the need for enhancing the adoption of modern technologies based on improved seeds, mineral fertilizers and related agronomic practices and enabling policies. Fertilizer use in SSA is still less than 10 kg/ha and needs to be increased five-fold to meet the target set by African Heads of State in the 2006 Abuja Declaration for an African Green Revolution. More importantly, fertilizer usage rates must rise in order to accelerate food production and agricultural growth. However, fertilizer use in SSA should be increased in an energy efficient and environmentally sound manner so that the mistakes of the Asian Green Revolution are not repeated. Therefore, this training workshop focused on key policy and marketing challenges and needed strategies to promote fertilizer use and supply in SSA.
The main goal of the training workshop was to have informed discussion and enlighten stakeholders about macro- and micro-issues affecting fertilizer market development in Africa. There was a special emphasis on sound policies and viable marketing strategies for efficient supply chains servicing the needs of the farmers. The specific objectives were:
- Identify sound policy options for promoting fertilizer use and supply.
- Explore the viability of alternative fertilizer supply paths.
- Construct marketing strategies suitable to country-specific situations.
- Equip participants with the necessary analytical and operational skills to implement sound policies and sustainable marketing strategies.
- Strengthen business and policy linkages among stakeholders from different parts of Africa.
The workshop focused on the following key topics:
- Food security and environmental challenges in the 21st century.
- Role of fertilizer in promoting food security and agricultural growth.
- Global and African Fertilizer Situation and Outlook.
- Macro-economic and micro-economic policies and their impact on fertilizer supply and demand.
- Policy options for fertilizer market development – subsidy and non-subsidy alternatives.
- Improving fertilizer supply – production versus trade.
- Challenges in market development – the holistic approach.
- Marketing strategies in international and national markets.
- Strengthening fertilizer supply chains – from the factory to the farm.
- Corporate social responsibility – reaching the last mile.
- Linking farmers to output markets – strengthening value chains.
- Human capital – agro-dealer networks and associations.
- Financial innovations and risk management.
- Market transparency and information technology.
- Public-Private Partnerships: regulation and risk-sharing.
- Fertilizer markets without borders – the development corridor approach.
The workshop was designed for African policymakers who design and implement key agricultural and trade policy decisions; private sector entrepreneurs, producer organizations and agro-dealers involved in fertilizer supply chains; development partners supporting agricultural and fertilizer market development in Africa, notably regional economic communities (RECs); UN organizations and other international development agencies; NGOs; farmers’/producers’ associations; and financial institutions.
The workshop included presentations and discussions of key concepts dealing with various facets of the supply chain and market development. The workshop was interactive and participants were encouraged to learn from and share experiences with each other. A field trip was organized to a fertilizer production facility to give the participants a first-hand view of fertilizer production and marketing issues. The workshop ended with group discussions leading to key recommendations.
IFDC specialists with several years of experience and expertise and invited policymakers and speakers from the fertilizer industry and banking sector formed the core faculty. Participants (alone or in a group) made presentations on key policy and marketing challenges faced by their countries and how the tools, ideas and approaches discussed in the workshop could be applied to improve fertilizer marketing in their country.
IFDC is a nonprofit, public international organization (PIO) dedicated to increasing agricultural productivity and food production through the development and use of plant nutrients in sustainable crop production systems. Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., IFDC is involved in human resource development, research and technical assistance in collaboration with public, private, national and international organizations throughout the world. IFDC has conducted more than 700 formal workshops, study tours and training programs for about 10,000 participants from 150 countries since 1974. The programs have covered a wide range of subjects including integrated soil fertility management and fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer production technology, agro-input dealership, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics.
For more information:
Director, Training and Workshop Coordination Unit
P.O. Box 2040
Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 35662, U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 (256) 381-6600
Telefax: +1 (256) 381-7408
As a nonprofit organization, IFDC does not finance or sponsor any participant.