World Bank set to strengthen fertilizer production, soil health, in West Africa with $1.5bn


By Sodiq Adelakun

The World Bank Group has announced an additional $1.5 billion by 2024 to support reforms needed to improve soil health and strengthening the fertilizer sector in terms of subsidy management, quality control and traceability through policy development operations and green fertilizer production projects in West Africa.

The $1.5 billion represents as increase from the $4 billion already committed raising the financial commitment to $5.5 billion.

This is as the Netherland Government has also pledged 100 million euros to support the fertilizer sector

The World Bank stated this during the high-level roundtable it jointly organised in partnership with the Togolese government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Togo’s capital Lome.

“Together with ECOWAS member countries and development partners, the World Bank is committed to increasing financial and technical support for a resilient agriculture that promotes sustainable development and creates jobs. We are working with African institutions to promote soil health and fight food insecurity, “the World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa, Ousmane Diagana said.

On his part, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, said through the adoption of a common roadmap, ECOWAS countries are committing to improve access to mineral and organic fertilizers for smallholder farmers, with a focus on crops that ensure food security and sovereignty for people and the implementation of the priority actions.

“Without vision, without strategy, fertilizers can quickly turn from a promise of soil restoration to the cause of deterioration. As we need to find a proper balance, planning and state involvement are essential. I therefore support a regional approach. As exemplified by the roadmap presented today, our vision should primarily be sub-regional,” President of the Republic of Togo, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, said.

During the event, industry leaders and development partners from the Economic Community of West Africa Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) reaffirmed their commitments to the development of an innovative and integrated approach for sustainable soil fertility management.

In a call to strengthen the resilience of agricultural and food systems, regional leaders approved a declaration covering a series of concrete objectives and measures which includes, tripling the consumption of fertilizers and doubling agricultural production by 2035 by adopting an integrated approach to land management and soil health restoration.

The regional leaders also approved strengthening research and development systems on sustainable land management, including adoption of new technologies; boosting investments in transport, shipment, and storage infrastructure, as well as establishing financing and risk-sharing facilities for input manufacturers and distributors in the region, with the support of the World Bank Group (WBG), Regional Investment and Development Banks (EBID, BOAD), African Banks (AfDB), Afreximbank.