Small-scale farmers on a rice plantation. Photo Credit: AfDB

AfDB approves $11.7 million to boost fertiliser access by African farmers

[rt_dropcap_style dropcap_letter=”T” dropcap_content=”HE African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved USD11.7 million for 2023 projects under the African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM), which seeks to boost fertilizer access, use and trade on the continent.”]

AFFM, a special fund established by the African Union in Abuja in 2006, aims to improve agricultural productivity by providing the necessary financing to boost fertilizer use in Africa and achieve the 50kg of nutrients per hectare target. It is hosted and managed by the AfDB. AFFM’s work is crucial in addressing food crises and various threats to food security caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine, climate change, conflict, locust infestation and disease.

“The 2023 projects will be implemented to support the second pillar of the Bank’s African Emergency Food Production Facility, which was launched to avert a looming food crisis in Africa following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In addition, AFFM will actively work with African countries and other key stakeholders to develop the national food and agriculture pacts that the continent’s leaders presented at the Feed Africa Summit in Dakar in January 2023,” said AfDB in a statement. AFFM also facilitates smallholder farmers’ access to inputs and extension services through credit guarantee projects and capacity building for farmers and input distributors.

The objective of the credit guarantee projects is to ensure proper use of fertilizers, increase agricultural productivity and improve soil conditions. The fund has been implementing three commercial credit guarantee projects amounting to USD8.3 million, with the recipient countries being Zimbabwe (USD4.3 million), Côte d’Ivoire (USD2 million), and Ghana (USD2 million).

For 2023, it plans to implement trade credit guarantee schemes totalling USD9.7 million in Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique and Kenya.

Three more new projects could be launched in Senegal, Zambia and Ghana if the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) follows through on its USD15 million commitment to the AFFM. AFFM’s 2023 programme of activities include strengthening the fertilizer sector through access to finance, supporting the development of sustainable policy reforms to improve fertilizer production, trade and use, and facilitating access to inputs and technical assistance for smallholder farmers.

It will continue to work with the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) on initiatives to improve fertilizer production, trade and use launched in 2021. It will also conduct an in-depth analysis of fertilizer policy in at least 10 African countries, which will map the current situation, identify gaps and prepare an action plan.

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