Kenya, Africa lag behind in fertiliser use

Fertiliser consumption is increasing in Africa but at a slower rate. [iStockphoto]

Poorly functioning value chains and lack of reliable data are some of the hindrances to Kenya and the rest of Africa achieving best practices in fertiliser use.

According to newly published data gathered over the last seven years by the International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) Kenya and African Union Commission (AUC), fertiliser consumption is increasing in Africa but at a slower rate.

"Data from 31 African member states shows that the average fertiliser consumption was about 15.5kg (kilogrammes) of nutrients per hectare (ha) as of 2018, up from about 12.8kg per ha in 2015," said the biennial review report on the implementation of the Malabo Declaration on accelerated agricultural transformation.

"The average growth rate of fertiliser consumption between 2015 and 2018 was about 6.5 per cent per annum. Most member States are... not on track to meeting the Abuja target of 50kg of nutrients per hectare even after extending the target year to 2025."

The report says African countries are also lagging behind in implementing the 2014 Malabo Declaration.

"Kenya scores 5.62 /10 and is not on track in implementing the Malabo Declaration on agriculture transformation in Africa. Overall, the continent remains not on track to achieving the Malabo Declaration commitments, obtaining an overall average score of 4.32," says the report.

Among other recommendations, AUC calls for an aggressive resource mobilisation campaign through the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism to finance the required improved fertiliser consumption and soil health in the continent.

IFDC Kenya Programmes Manager Sebastian Nduva recently pointed out that Africa's fertiliser usage rate is the lowest in the world.

"To be precise, we are only at about three per cent of the global consumption. If you look at the figures cumulatively, the world consumes about 200 million tonnes of nutrients annually. But Africa is lagging behind," said Mr Nduva.

He said IFDC has developed a market systems initiative, to illuminate the fertiliser market in sub-Saharan Africa.

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