Canada Announces $7.3m Fertilizer Funding to Revolutionise Agriculture in Africa

Gilbert Ekugbe

Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has announced a $7.3m fertilizer funding to the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) aimed at overhauling African agriculture into a productive, competitive and sustainable sector.

In a statement by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) announcing the investment, AfDB said the financing would aid the mechanism in replicating its credit guarantee programmes, enabling fertilizer importers and aggregators to access the product on credit, while also boost efforts to improve soil health and provide technical assistance to farmers.

The move by GAC, AfDB said would enhance sustainable agricultural productivity and smallholder farmer livelihoods, particularly women and youth across Africa.

 “We thank Global Affairs Canada for its support to advance the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism’s implementation of its Strategic Plan 2022-2028, which focuses on broadening access to finance through capital investments and policy reforms, among other priorities that benefit Africa’s smallholder farmers,” said the AfDB’s Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Dr. Beth Dunford.

Dunford said that fertilizer is essential for food production, yet it is significantly underutilised in sub-Saharan Africa’s agriculture sector due to limited financing and technical know-how among farmers.

The programme targets 800,000 smallholder farmers, with 40 per cent of beneficiaries expected to be women and 10 per cent youth. It aims to provide access to and improve the utilization of 80,000 tons of organic and inorganic fertilizer, which is expected to increase yields by 30 per cent.

Canada’s Minister of International Development, Mr. Ahmed Hussen, said: “Canada is proud to support resilient, climate-smart agriculture and adaptable food production systems in Africa. We remain committed to promoting inclusive, green growth in partnership with the African Development Bank, including through our contribution to the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism.”

Under the programme, the mechanism would extend credit guarantee facilities to the inputs supply chain in eight African countries.

The programme would also facilitate the formulation of fertilizer policies and regulatory frameworks to foster gender-sensitive and sustainable soil management practices.

The Coordinator of the Mechanism, Ms. Marie Claire Kalihangabo, welcomed Global Affairs Canada as a new member and expressed readiness to collaborate with Canada to fulfill the AFFM’s mandate.

The programme aligned with the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and the Malabo Declaration.

The programme also resonates with Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy and its efforts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. It also complements Canada’s “Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health” initiative to boost food security and sustainability.

Canada’s funding announcement comes just weeks ahead of the African Union Commission’s Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit scheduled for 7-9 May 2024 in Nairobi.

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