189-1 Resolving Constraints to Fertilizer Value Chain Development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

See more from this Division: ASA Section: Global Agronomy
See more from this Session: Symposium--Access to Agronomic Inputs: A Global Challenge to Improve Food Security

Tuesday, November 17, 2015: 8:02 AM
Hilton Minneapolis, Marquette Ballroom IX

Latha Nagarajan, International Fertilizer Development Center, Muscle Shoals, AL, Deborah Hellums, Office of Programs, International Fertilizer Development Center, Muscle Shoals, AL and John Wendt, CGIAR, Croydon, United Kingdom
Increasing agricultural production and providing food security is one of the greatest challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa. IFDC’s approach to meeting this challenge is centered on sustainable intensification of SSA’s agriculture based on greater adoption of yield-increasing inputs and management practices, improved management of natural resources and development of efficient markets. The approach relies on preparing private sector players to take the lead in supplying agricultural inputs and supporting governments in defining their vital role in providing necessary public goods and services and creating supportive policy, legal and regulatory environments necessary for privatization too work. While IFDC’s input focus is on fertilizer, seed and crop protection products, it recognizes that the lack of other agricultural inputs such as lack of labor, tools and equipment and inherently low levels of soil fertility in some regions are additional important constraints to agricultural productivity and food security.  While constraints vary significantly by country, IFDC argues that:
  • Agricultural input markets should be developed in a holistic framework recognizing that
  1. While farmer demand is the driver for development of the input supply system; farmers and farm production are a part of the total agribusiness system and its performance is determined by the weakest link in the system.
  2. Farmers and entrepreneurs differ considerably.

Sustainable input supply systems are driven by demand-pull forces, most importantly profitability (and the resulting competition), but also the level of risk and level of non-farm income. Developing sustainable input supply systems requires determinants of these three factors be identified and improved in ways that will increase profits, lower risks and encourage non-farm income generation. While developing sustainable competitive input marketing systems in SSA is proving to be a difficult task, IFDC believes it can be done through a nurturing of the private sector in a holistic way that promotes agriculture in SSA as a business.

There are a number of prerequisites for successful reforms including government commitment to policy change and their ability to implement change, minimize instability in political and economic expectations, establish transparent legal systems to instill confidence in reforms. Lastly reforms must be based on assessment of existing market system in/within each country instead of a prototype on how reforms should function. Finally, experience has shown that transition involves difficult tradeoffs and that transitions must be country specific based on the level of development and the complexity of the agricultural input sector. As a result the mix of actions to improve agriculture’s performance will differ by and within country.

See more from this Division: ASA Section: Global Agronomy
See more from this Session: Symposium--Access to Agronomic Inputs: A Global Challenge to Improve Food Security

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