USD 10 M investment Hub launched to improve soil fertility in West Africa

Africa Science News

By Lenah Bosibori

The World Bank has launched a $ 10 million investment Hub in West Africa and the Sahel to help increase agricultural productivity, food security and soil fertility over the next five years.

Speaking in Nairobi during the signing ceremony with partners of the Hub, Katie Freeman a Senior Agriculture Economist at the World Bank said that soil health is critical to productivity and Farmer incomes across West Africa and the Sahel.

“We are financing the Hub with $ 10 million over five years through Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA). The World Bank is financing AICCRA for climate research across Africa and as part of this program,” said Freeman.

The interest of the World Bank in financing this hub is related to the role of the hub in helping to increase fertilizer application, fertilizer efficiency and fertilizer use across the West African sub region with the idea that this is central to increasing production and productivity and to help food security in West Africa according to Freeman.

She also noted that Africa has faced its worsening food and nutrition security crisis, an estimated 125 million people are expected to be food insecure by July including 44.5 million people in Western and Central and 81 million in Eastern and Southern Africa.

“These are very heavy numbers and they are also completely contrary to the World based edition of eliminating extreme poverty on a livable planet, we are not accomplishing our goal of eliminating extreme poverty and food security,” added Freeman.

According to Freeman, AICCRA is the partner that is going to contribute to the establishment of these regional Hub.

Ana Maria Loboguerrero the Executive Director AICCRA said that they have three main indicators in AICCRA framework that speak about the hub and they are going to be following them so that they can make this agenda in the best way possible.

“This World Bank funded program aims to reach 3 million hectares with climate-smart agriculture solutions, it also aims to reach 500,000 hectares with specific fertilizer requirements and building on previous success,” she reiterated.

“We believe in the importance of having soil information and the way that this whole information is presented, we believe also that having digital soil maps are one of the key elements that can help us to trigger action in relation to soil tranquilizers and soil health in Africa,” added Loboguerrero.

Soil health is critical to productivity and farmer incomes across West Africa and the Sahel. We started to think about how to both increase soil nutrients across Africa but also increase the efficiency and effectiveness of fertilizers used in West Africa. One of the things named to help increase soil mapping and fertilizer recommendations and nutrient recommendations across the seven regions.

The launch was done in Nairobi during the 2024 Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health (AFSH) Summit held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), Nairobi, Kenya under the Theme “Listen to the Land”, which will guide deliberations, deals and product showcases around sustainably transforming the fertility of Africa’s agricultural land.

The Summit brought together African Heads of State, high-ranking government officials, senior policy makers, private-sector players (including fertilizer manufacturers, importers, blenders and distributors), and civil society organizations for discussions aimed at driving knowledge exchange, technology promotion and a strategic drive towards Africa’s agricultural and food system transformation.

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