Abuja – Prof. Richard Makandawire, Vice President, African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partner (AFAP), has advocated sensitisation of farmers to the type of fertiliser to be applied on a particular soil to improve productivity.
Makandawire made this known at the 2nd Annual West Africa Fertiliser Stakeholders Forum in Abuja on Friday.
He said that rural farmers needed to be educated on the type of fertiliser to be used on a particular crop and soil type to increase yields and farmers’ income.
He added that the era at which farmers used any fertiliser for crops and soil without carrying out test was long overdue.
He said that a lot needed to be done to address this challenge.
“This forum brings together the region’s stakeholders to discuss practical approaches to addressing the constraint which hampers distribution and use of quality fertiliser in West Africa.
“The need to pay greater attention to fertiliser value chains is important as millions of smallholder farmers were not able to access high quality seeds and affordable fertiliser in good time.
“Fertiliser is very important when it comes to agriculture and once farmers got it wrong at the early stage, it affects the whole production processes, which decrease productivity, “ he said.
He, however, called for the implementation of Abuja Summit in 2006 which declared 50 kg/ha of fertiliser for African government in 2015.
“The Abuja Summit is also aimed at addressing fertiliser formation, the quality of fertiliser and the impact of fertiliser issues in agriculture.
“Fertiliser consumption levels in West Africa are generally below 10 kg/ha compared with a world average of 107 kg/ha after 10 years and far below the target of 50 kg.
“The declaration of 50kg is not realistic. We need to scale up our activities because we don’t have extra 10 years to waste.
“The target was 2015 and this is 2016.
“Most of us who started this formation might not be here again in 10 years to come. Let us create an avenue for next generation to enjoy and for the interest of our economy, “ he added.
Makandawire, however, called for a review of fertiliser subsidy programmes across the region and their effects on fertiliser supply and distribution to enhance productivity.
NAN reports that the two-day forum with the theme: Scaling up Quality and Adapted Fertiliser Supply in West Africa brought stakeholders to brainstorm on challenges facing the sub sector. (NAN)