September 5-9, 2022, Kigali, Rwanda
The African Union Commission (AUC) has launched preparations for the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit (AFSHS) during a special session at the ongoing AGRF2022 Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. It was launched by the African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E Ambassador Josefa Sacko and was attended by senior people from governments, development partners and the private sector including former president of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo.
The launch marks the beginning of preparations for the AFSHS, scheduled to take place in June 2023, and, kick starts a consultative process to achieve consensus on the role of fertilizer and soil health in the transformation of Africa’s agri-food systems. Most importantly this process will seek guidance from political, business, civic leaders and development partners on the key issues that need to be brought to the attention of Heads of State in order to promote fertilizer use and improve soil health on the continent. The Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit of 2023 will review the progress made and implementation challenges faced since the 2006 Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for an African Green Revolution. The summit is also expected start the development of a ten-year plan that will improve access and use of fertilizer, and promote soil health on the continent. In her opening remarks for the launch, Commissioner Sacko noted that we are three years from the end point of the Malabo Declaration and yet malnutrition and food insecurity are on the rise. We should be feeding ourselves and the world, not the other way round.
When making his remarks, former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo showed concern that in the 2006 Abuja Declaration set targets but some of them have not been met. We agreed to raise fertilizer use from 8kg/ha to 50kg/ha, but so far, we are at 20kg/ha. If you compare this with averages from other regions in the world, USA averages 128/ha, EU 154 kg/ha, India averages 175kg/ha and China 393 kg/ha. This shows that we have not even begun”.
The African Union Commission’s Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (DARBE) has developed a road map that includes a number of events designed to gather technical input for the summit and to increase awareness, and visibility of the event on the African continent and beyond. Over the period leading to the Summit, the African Union Commission will work with governments, Regional Economic Communities, and various technical partners to prepare for the summit. The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP), Regional Network of Agriculture Policy Research (ReNAPRI), and The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) are some of the institutions that have partnered with the AUC to conduct background technical and analytical work including research and policy analysis which will feed into the agenda for the summit.
Speaking at the launch, AAP Africa Director Professor Richard Mkandawire urged governments to put money on the table in order to promote the fertilizer and soil health agenda. “Our governments need to put money on the table. We go to these summits and make these resolutions, and yet nobody follows up. It all boils down to funding,” said Mkandawire.