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Africa for enhanced soil, fertilizer management

By Patricia Kapulula in Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, May 9: Delegates to the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit (AFSH) 2024 taking place in Nairobi, Kenya have expressed concern over the current pace of soil degradation on the continent saying it requires proactive action in order to enhance sustainable soil management across the continent.

President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera is among the Heads of State and Government attending the summit which has brought together all relevant stakeholders to highlight the crucial role of fertilizer and soil health in stimulating sustainable pro-poor productivity growth in African agriculture.

In his remarks, Chakwera emphasised on the need for Africa to put in efforts to address soil degradation on the continent which he said has been worsened by climate change.

He said as the continent is looking at chemical fertilizer usage, it is also important to improve efforts in access to organic fertilizer in addressing soil health to enrich the soil.

“Added nutrients through chemical fertilizer is not adequate to achieve food security. We, therefore, need to address soil health for us to achieve sustainable food security,” he said.

President William Ruto of Kenya said Africa faces numerous challenges in agriculture including fertilizer and poor soil health which has led to food insecurity on the continent hence the need for collective effort to addressing the challenges.

“In pursuit of the Green Revolution, it is important to note that Africa has vast potential which needs to be utilised. We need deep reflection for sustainable fertilizer across Africa in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2,” said Ruto.

SDG 2 is about creating a world free of hunger by 2030.

Chairperson for African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said African Union (AU) is committed to addressing soil health challenges affecting the continent and fertilizer usage which constitutes a critical agricultural aspect.

He said Africa spends billions of dollars on food and fertilizer imports hence the need for the continent to have raw materials in order to reduce the imports.

The Summit will endorse a 10-year action plan that will deliver concreate recommendations for steps to be taken by African leaders and stakeholders.

In June 2006, AU Heads of State and Governments endorsed the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the Africa Green revolution, a continental strategy to reverse the worrying trend of poor productivity of the African soils.

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