Press Release | Fertilizer and Soil Health Center launched to enhance agricultural productivity in West Africa and the Sahel

NAIROBI, KENYA May 8, 2024 – A Fertilizer and Soil Health Hub has launched today at the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit, to enhance agricultural productivity and sustainability across West Africa and the Sahel. 

This groundbreaking initiative, financed through OCP Africa and the World Bank-funded Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) project, aims to implement and coordinate subregional programs for addressing soil health, sustainable fertilizer use, and climate resilience, with a commitment of $10 million over the next five years. It represents a concerted effort to transform soil health and agricultural practices, spearheaded by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with support from a consortium of key partners and industry stakeholders.

"The launch of this regional hub is a significant step towards realizing our vision for a sustainable planet where soil health is prioritized, food security is ensured, climate change adaptation is addressed, and poverty is eradicated,” says Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Africa and the Middle East. “By supporting and collaborating with the Hub, we aim to channel financial resources strategically to achieve significant improvements in agricultural resilience and productivity across West Africa and the Sahel.”

In Africa, two-thirds of the land available for agricultural production is considered degraded, resulting is low crop and livestock productivity, poverty, and degradation of natural resources. Average fertilizer application rate is 22 kilograms per hectare, compared to a world average seven-times higher (146 kilograms per hectare), while skyrocketing and highly volatile fertilizer prices reduce their application even further. Moreover, the fertilizers applied are not always suitable to the soil and crops needs, and complementary inputs and advisory services are usually missing, leading to low profitability for the farmer and sometimes even further soil degradation in the long run.

“By addressing the challenges of poor soil health and fertility, our region will make significant progress in ensuring a sustainable future and in increasing yields and profitability for farmers,” says Mrs Massandjé Toure-Litse, ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture. “This new Hub contributes to our broader goal of fostering sustainable agriculture and environmental sustainability. Furthermore, it is crucial for the implementation of the Roadmap on Soil Health in West Africa and the Sahel, endorsed by heads of states, country delegations and partners during the High-level roundtable on fertilizers and soil health in Lomé, Togo, on May 31, 2023.”

The Fertilizer and Soil Health Hub for West Africa and the Sahel is headquartered at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) campus in Ibadan, Nigeria, with a supporting facility at the University Mohammed VI Polytechnic (UM6P) in Ben Guerir, Morocco. It brings together a diverse coalition of expertise from the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), OCP Africa, the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI), and the World Bank through AICCRA. This collaborative approach will allow the Hub to leverage the strengths of each partner to achieve its mission to drive agronomic gains and support sustainable agricultural practices, with a focus on information sharing, knowledge management, capacity development, agronomic recommendations, policy support, advocacy, and resource mobilization.

“The Fertilizer and Soil Health Hub marks a significant step toward a more sustainable and resilient agricultural future for West Africa and the Sahel,” says Dr. Simeon Ehui, Director General for IITA, and CGIAR Regional Director for Africa. “By addressing soil health and promoting sustainable practices, this initiative is poised to make a meaningful impact on food security, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability in the region.”

Media Contact

Barbra Muzata, CGIAR Excellence in Agronomy Initiative