Funding of the Private Fertilizer Sector: ECOWAS and EBID to Support the economic scheme of the West African Fertilizer Association (WAFA)22 Dec, 2020
|Abuja, 18th December, 2020
To further promote fertilizer consumption which is still very poor in the region (around 20 kg/ha out of an expected consumption of 50 kg/ha in 2015) the Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) have decided to join forces to support the economic scheme of the West African Fertilizer Association (WAFA).
In this perspective, WAFA mandated EBID on October 8, 2020 to mobilize the financial resources. The fundraising concerns a total amount of USD 520 million, of which USD 430 million is for fertilizer imports and USD 90 million for investments. The ECOWAS Commission, through its Department for Agriculture, Environment and Water Resources, sensitizes, and encourages WAFA members to speed up the preparation and submission of relevant and bankable projects to EBID for funding. Furthermore, it has undertaken strong advocacy with the States that was coronated on 10 December 2020 with the virtual meeting of the ministers of agriculture of the 15 Member States, with the participation of EBID and that of WAFA officials and members. The planned economic scheme is to cover both bulk importation of fertilizers and the establishment in the countries by local shareholders of private fertilizer blending units.
The ECOWAS Commission also drew the attention of the ministers on the fact that, despite numerous efforts, local rice production accounts for only 60% of the needs for an average annual consumption estimated at 24 million tons in 2019, which means that the region loses huge amounts of foreign currency through massive rice imports. This situation strongly contrasts with the human, land and water resource potential of the region already faced with unemployment, poverty, and high migration.
Considering the high stakes and the highly strategic sector that the WAFA initiative and the regional strategy of the ECOWAS rice offensive intend to address, ministers gave their political support to the two processes and called for their immediate implementation. For the ministers, the availability of agricultural inputs, especially fertilizers, at the right price and at the right time should enable farmers to increase their production, especially for local rice. Besides, the ECOWAS Commission should, quickly initiate a strategic reflection on the harmonization of regulations on rice imports with all Member States and further strengthen its support to the implementation of their national rice development strategies.