Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the African Green Revolution
Given the importance of fertilizer to the continent's food production efforts, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) has declared that Africa's economic development vision must be based on raising and sustaining higher rates of economic growth (7 percent per year). To implement this vision, African heads of state and government adopted the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) which calls for a 6% annual growth in agricultural production, as a framework for the restoration of agricultural growth, food security and rural development in Africa.
African farmers face a variety of constraints, including low productivity of cultivated lands, limited access to new agricultural technologies and the lack of markets for their products. Without adequate inputs, farmers cannot meet the food needs of their own families, much less those of a rapidly growing population. Regarding food security in Africa, farmers will need to shift from low yielding, extensive land practices to more intensive, higher-yielding practices, with increased use of improved seeds, fertilizers and irrigation.
A move toward reducing hunger on the continent must begin by the continent addressing its severely depleted soils through multiple agricultural land conservation, protection and management approaches. Due to decades of soil nutrient mining, Africa’s soils have become the poorest in the world. It is estimated that the continent loses over US$4 billion worth of soil nutrients each year, severely eroding its ability to feed itself. Yet farmers neither have access to fertilizers nor can they afford inputs needed to add life to their soils. No region of the world has been able to expand agricultural growth rates and tackle hunger without increasing fertilizer use.
Africa's fertilizer use averages only eight kilograms per hectare, that is, only 10% of the world's average. Addressing Africa’s fertilizer crisis therefore requires urgent and bold actions. As African leaders convened in Abuja, they were keen to show their strong and unanimous commitment to achieve the African Green Revolution by taking immediate actions to solve Africa’s fertilizer crisis.
The African Union Ministers of Agriculture convened in Abuja on 12 June 2006 for the Africa Fertilizer Summit:
- Recognizing that Africa needs a Green Revolution which is long overdue and yet constitutes the way of getting African farmers out of the poverty trap by achieving food security and other relevant the Millennium Development Goals
- Recognizing that fertilizer is crucial for achieving an African Green Revolution in the face of rapidly rising population and declining soil fertility
- Realizing that most farmers in Africa are poor, have virtually no access to fertilizer and that the poorest of them urgently need special attention
- Recognizing the urgent need for a strategic investment program to increase the availability and use of fertilizer alongside with other inputs to usher in the Green Revolution on the African continent
- Declare fertilizer, from both inorganic and organic sources, a strategic commodity without borders
- Resolve that the African Union Member States will accelerate the timely access of farmers to fertilizers:
- Given the strategic importance of fertilizer in achieving the African Green Revolution to end hunger, the African Union Member States resolve to increase the level of use of fertilizer from the current average of 8 kilograms per hectare to an average of at least 50 kilograms per hectare by 2015.
- By mid-2007, the African Union Member States and the Regional Economic Communities should take appropriate measures to reduce the cost of fertilizer procurement at national and regional levels especially through the harmonization of policies and regulations to ensure duty- and tax-free movement across regions, and the development of capacity for quality control. As an immediate measure, we recommend the elimination of taxes and tariffs on fertilizer and on fertilizer raw materials.
- By mid-2007, the African Governments must take concrete measures to improve farmers’ access to fertilizers, by developing and scaling up input dealers’ and community-based networks across rural areas. The Private Sector and Development Partners are hereby requested to support such actions.
- By 2007, the African Union Member States must take concrete measures to specially address the fertilizer needs of farmers, especially women, and to develop and strengthen the capacity of youth, farmers’ associations, civil society organizations, and the private sector.
- With immediate effect, the African Union Member States must improve farmers’ access to fertilizer, by granting, with the support of Africa’s Development Partners, targeted subsidies in favour of the fertilizer sector, with special attention to poor farmers.
- The African Union Member States should take immediate steps to accelerate investment in infrastructure, particularly transport, fiscal incentives, strengthening farmers’ organizations, and other measures to improve output market incentives.
- The African Union Member States should establish national financing facilities for input suppliers to accelerate access to credit at the local and national level, with specific attention to women.
- The African Union Member States, hereby request the establishment of Regional Fertilizer Procurement and Distribution Facilities with the support of the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa, the Regional Economic Communities and the Regional Development Banks, through strategic public-private partnerships by the end of 2007.
- Given the extensive fertilizer raw material resources in Africa and the fact that they are underutilized in many parts of the continent, the African Union Member States undertake to promote national/regional fertilizer production and intra-regional fertilizer trade to capture a bigger market and take advantage of economies of scale through appropriate measures such as tax incentives and infrastructure development. This should be supported by the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa, the Regional Development Banks, the Regional Economic Communities, other Development Partners, and the Private Sector.
- The African Union Member States should take specific action to improve farmer access to quality seeds, irrigation facilities, extension services, market information, and soil nutrient testing and mapping to facilitate effective and efficient use of inorganic and organic fertilizers, while paying attention to the environment.
- The African Development Bank, with the support of the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Union Commission, is called to establish, by 2007, an Africa Fertilizer Development Financing Mechanism that will meet the financing requirements of the various actions agreed upon by the Summit. We, the African Union Member States, undertake to support the establishment of this facility and will pledge resources for its immediate operation.
- The African Union Member States request the African Union Commission and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development to set up a mechanism to monitor and evaluate the implementation of this resolution. This should be done in collaboration with the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank. The African Union Commission should give progress report to the African Heads of State at every sixth-monthly African Union Summit, starting in January 2007.
African Fertilizer Development Financing Fund
The Fertilizer Fund is designed to mobilize and pool resources to finance, in particular, fertilizer production, distribution, procurement and use in Africa.
The Fertilizer Fund's resources shall be devoted primarily to:
- facilitation activities including policy formulation, technical assistance, information dissemination, law reform, and project preparation;
- the development of Africa’s fertilizer manufacturing capacity;
- providing credit guarantees for fertilizer importers and distributors;
- support establishment of regional fertilizer procurement and distribution facilities; and
- developing financing mechanisms in support of fertilizer production, distribution, and agriculture generally.