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Leaders from West Africa and the Sahel Recommit to Invest more in Fertilizers and Soil Health to boost Productivity and feed the endless growing Population

02 Jun, 2023

The two-day discussions have enabled participants and stakeholders to the RoundTable on fertilizers and soil health in West Africa and the Sahel to come up with a roadmap for investing in the Future by nourishing the soil. The roadmap was endorsed by the country delegations, bringing together President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé of the Republic of Togo, President Mohamed Bazoum of the Republic of Niger, President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea Bissau, the president of the ECOWAS Commission as well as ministers of agriculture and finance. Another output of the Roundtable is the Lomé Declaration highlighting the key commitments of Members States for improving soil health and soil fertility and enhancing the resilience of farmers and of production systems to climate change and other exogenous shocks.

“Without vision, without strategy, fertilizers can quickly turn from a promise of soil restoration to the cause of deterioration, » said the President of the Republic of Togo, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé. « 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… We must produce more today and tomorrow as Hunger is back to our region”.

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.

“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,” said Ousmane Diagana, World Bank Vice President for Western and Central Africa.

The World Bank Group announced an additional 1.5 billion dollars by 2024 – an increase from 4 billion already committed and under implementation to 5.5 billion dollars. It includes continued support for 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. The Netherlands also pledged 100 million euros to support the sector in West Africa over the next decade.

“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,” highlighted Dr. Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission.

The Lomé round table brought together leaders from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. Also in attendance were the President of ECOWAS, the World Bank Vice-President for West and Central Africa, representatives of regional development partners including the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), as well as fertilizer industry leaders among others.

Member States