13 Mar 2017

Initiation of a fertilizer stakeholder forum for Eastern and Southern Africa

Dr James Mutegi at the fertilizer stakeholder forum for Eastern and Southern Africa operationalization workshop

IPNI in collaboration with AGRA and other local and international organizations initiated a fertilizer stakeholder forum for Eastern and Southern Africa. The fertilizer stakeholder forum aims at supporting the fertilizer industry with knowledge ad information to improve fertilizer recommendation and support delivery of fertilizer formulations that address multiple nutrient deficiencies in smallholder farming systems. This will be accomplished by building the capacity of fertilizer companies on good agronomic practices coupled with support with crop response data, soil fertility maps and decision support tools.

A workshop to initiate the Malawi forum was held on 7th and 8th of February 2017. The workshop was attended by 105 participants drawn from 4 main fertilizer companies in Malawi, 3 seed companies, national-regional & international fertilizer research and policy departments, donors and development partners. Participants included researchers, fertilizer industry and agricultural development experts drawn from various institutions in Malawi, USA, Kenya and South Africa. Key among the institutions and projects that led major discussions on science-private sector-policy linkages included the, Malawi agricultural input directorate, the fertilizer association of Malawi, Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR), the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and the Agriculture and Food Security Center Columbia. The featured projects included the IPNI/LUANAR led Malawi soil health consortium, the CABI/LUANAR led Optimization of fertilizer recommendation project and the Ag Center Columbia led, Soil Testing Kit (SoilDoc) based Malawi fertilizer blend development project. The key objectives of the workshop were:
    i) To facilitate exposure of fertilizer companies to available data and scientific support for developing more effective fertilizer products for Malawi

    ii) To facilitate exposure of policy makers to available data on crop response and fertilizer trends for purpose of developing data driven fertilizer policies going forward

    iii) To initiate a fertilizer stakeholder forum that would enable knowledge to flow from research institutions to private fertilizer companies and vice versa

    The achievements of the workshop include; (a) creation of a platform for engagement between the researchers, Malawi based fertilizer companies and policy makers (b) development of timelines for training fertilizer companies on various decision support tools including the nutrient expert and the fertilizer optimization tools (c) development of a taskforce for harmonization of fertilizer data and maps for various regions in Malawi.

More about: Soil Health Consortia for Eastern and Southern Africa