ECOWAS Launches a Regional Hub for Fertilizer and Soil Health for West Africa and the Sahel

By Gabriel / 2 weeks, 5 days ago

Though Africa can be the world's food basket, inefficient use of fertilizers and poor soil health management, among other factors, keep Africa struggling to feed itself properly. Building on the journey undertaken since the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer in 2006 through the May 2024 Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, ECOWAS, in collaboration with technical and financial partners such as OCP Africa, IITA, APNI, IFDC, UM6P and the World Bank mainly, officially launched this 26 June 2024, the Regional Hub for Fertilizer and Soil Health for West Africa and the Sahel.

The Hub aims to enhance soil health and agricultural productivity across the region. The Hub is hosted at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) campus in Ibadan, Nigeria, with initial funding from the World Bank and OCP-Africa. The Hub is an ECOWAS sub-program, governed by a Consortium of technical partners, including IITA, the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), « Africa Plant Nutrition Institute »(APNI), OCP-Africa and University of Mohamed 6 Polytechnic (UM6P), and coordinated by IITA.

The main role of the Hub is to provide technical assistance to the development and implementation of investments in fertilizer and soil health in the ECOWAS countries with inclusion in Mauretania and Chad. It is meant for nations of WA and the Sahel to improve long-term soil health and fertility management for enhanced yield and profitability, efficient resource use (nutrients, water, labour, seeds), and climate resilience. This event marks a significant milestone in the collective effort to enhance soil health and agricultural productivity across West Africa and the Sahel.

As part of the launch event, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, Mrs. Massandjé Touré_Litsé, signed one MoU with IITA to implement the regional Agricultural Policy (ECOWAP) and the West Africa Hub and another one with OCP Africa for training opportunities in agricultural extension on fertilizer and soil health at the Polytechnic University of Mohamed 6 in Morocco.

To recall, solving the problem of soil health in Africa requires more than technical and assistance. Working together through effective partnerships and synergies is one of the surest ways to impact the livelihoods of the populations. ECOWAS therefore urges all stakeholders to join forces to turn the tide on food insecurity in West Africa. The West Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Hub, along with the roadmap and action plans, provides an enabling framework for achieving this goal.