Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
Through its programme for the revitalisation of the agricultural sector in Africa — the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) — NEPAD has set a target of 6% annual average growth rate in agriculture at the national level by 2015.
In order to stimulate the increase in productivity necessary to achieve this target, farmers in Africa will have to use substantial amounts of fertilizers (both organic and inorganic) to increase yields.
However, African farmers use very little or no fertilizers ; on average African farmers use 8-10 kg/ha of nutrients which is only 10% of the world average.
This process of more nutrients being removed from the soil annually mainly through harvesting of crops than are being returned to the soil through the use of fertilizers has resulted in severe soil nutrient mining in Africa.
During the 2002-2004 cropping season, 85% of African farmland had nutrient mining rates of more than 30 kg/ha of nutrients yearly, and 40% had rates of more than 60 kg/ha yearly.
Consequently, Africa is facing a serious soil fertility crisis.
It was in recognition of the severity of the situation and the need to address it in a focused and comprehensive manner that the African Union/NEPAD convened the Africa Fertilizer Summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in June 2006.
The key outcome was the 12 point Summit resolution, “Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for an African Green Revolution,” which African leaders unanimously endorsed.
The Abuja Declaration delineates actions and measures to be implemented at the country and regional levels that will rapidly accelerate access, affordability and incentives to use fertilizers and other modern inputs, and usher in the ‘uniquely” African Green Revolution called for by former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.
Soil nutrient replenishment in Africa is not only critical from a socio-economic perspective, but is also an environmental imperative.
Degraded soils are prone to erosion, poor water retention, and loss of organic matter that provides soil structure.
As soils become more depleted, farmers are more likely to clear forests and savannah and destroy other natural habitats to create arable lands. Therefore, while it is the case that much can be done to improve soil organic matter content and soil fertility through practising more integrated soil fertility management techniques (including timely weeding, introduction of green manure, inclusion of legumes for biological nitrogen fixation, and planting trees in rotation with cereals and root tubers) organic sources of fertilizer are not a substitute for mineral or inorganic fertilizers.
For example, use of organic matter to replenish soil nutrients was estimated at 5 metric tons per ha per year or 20 million metric tons for the whole of Uganda. This amount is not only difficult to handle but also not available. Moreover, what is available may be poor in nutrient content given the many years of continuous cropping and non-fertilizer use.
Thus while organic fertilizers have a key role to play in addressing the fertilizer crisis facing Africa, inorganic or chemical fertilizer must be placed at the centre of soil fertility restoration strategies.
As noted earlier, the impetus behind the Africa Fertilizer Summit initiative was the substantial increase in fertilizer use by African farmers required to achieve the CAADP target of 6%.
Critical role in all CAADP pillars The CAADP is to be implemented through investments in four pillars and fertilizer has a critical role to play in each of them.
However, the majority of the measures and activities delineated in the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer related to policy and market development issues such as rationalisation and harmonisation of policies and regulations, elimination of taxes and tariffs, development of agrodealer networks, targeted subsidies, improving access to finance, and regional procurement and distribution of fertilizers.
Therefore, the facilitation and monitoring of the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizers by the NEPAD Secretariat is mainly under the auspices of Pillar 2 which speaks to improving rural markets and trade-related capacities for market access.
Since June 2006, a number of consultations have been held and decisions made at the regional level in the context of CAADP’s target and as a follow-up to the Africa Fertilizer Summit of June 2006. But overall progress in implementation of the Abuja Declaration has been limited at both regional and country levels.
Progress at the regional level has been as follows :
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) developed a joint regional fertilizer strategy for the Africa Fertilizer Summit which identified two broad areas for action : regional procurement and regional fertilizer production. While COMESA is taking the lead on regional procurement, SADC is focusing on the area of regional production of fertilizer.
The East African Community (EAC) has adopted an agricultural and rural development policy which gives strategic and institutional support to the implementation of Abuja Declaration of Fertilizer for the region.
The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) is working on the development of a concept note for the establishment of a legal and regulatory framework for fertilizers for the region. Technical support is being provided by NEPAD, IFDC – an international centre for soil fertility and agricultural development — and the African Capacity Building Foundation.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is working on the development of fertilizer legislation and regulations and the preparation of a common external tariff for fertilizers and raw materials that includes a proposed rate for the 15 ECOWAS member states.
Strong commitment but weak capacity During the 2003-2005 period 21 countries consumed less than 15 kg of nutrients per ha (kg/ha) ; two countries (Niger and Benin) consumed less than 1 kg/ha ; four countries (Malawi, Senegal, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe) each consumed between 20 and 35 kg/ha ; and four countries (Kenya, Libya, South Africa, and Morocco) each consumed between 40 and 55 kg of nutrients per ha. Only two countries consumed more than the world average of 100 kg of nutrients per ha : Mauritius (217 kg) and Egypt (572 kg).
Overall, progress in the implementation of the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizers by the countries and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) has been limited in spite of strong political commitment. Even where there is some alignment to the Declaration, in many cases the resolutions are not being implemented correctly, the capacity for implementation is weak, or the private sector, a key stakeholder in fertilizer market development, has not been made a priority.
The key reasons for the weak response to the Abuja Declaration are lack of capacity, inadequate technical and financial resources, and the lack of a proactive stance.
Although 31 countries and five RECs have developed fertilizer strategies, progress in implementation remains limited because they require technical assistance and financial resources to turn their strategies into bankable proposals and implement them. It is therefore urgent that the African Fertilizer Development Financing Mechanism (AFFM) is established as soon as possible, and that countries make their contributions to ensure that the resources are made available for the country and regional stakeholders to implement their fertilizer strategies.
Countries and RECs should identify priority resolutions and seek NEPAD assistance to mobilise technical support to develop actionable proposals.
* The legal and framework documents for the establishment of the African Fertilizer Development Financing Mechanism (AFFM) by the African Development Bank have been finalised. The AFFM has already mobilised over USD 35.2 million in pledges by the Government of Nigeria, the Gates Foundation, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) among others. On December 4, 2007, the Board of Directors of the AfDB endorsed the AFFM. The next step is approval by the bank’s board of governors. Once the fund has been established, a stakeholders and partners pledging conference will be convened to generate contributions from countries and development partners. The AFFM is expected to be operational by mid-2008.
Uganda’s Country Self-Assessment report for the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) was presented to President Museveni at State House in Entebbe on 19 January 2008 by the APRM National Focal Point, Jachan Omach. A Country Review Mission from the APRM is now in Uganda until 24 February.
In handing over the report Jachan Omach praised the President and the Uganda Government for their support and commitment to the APRM process and the President’s readiness to have Uganda peer reviewed.
This assurance demonstrated the Government’s commitment towards strengthening good governance practices in Uganda.
“Ugandans should commend you, your Excellency, and your colleagues in the African Union for embracing this unique and bold endeavour. The APRM process encompasses the best attributes of democratic rule and governance,” he said.
Describing his duties Mr. Omach said : “The role of the Focal Point is to galvanize Government support for the APRM process, liaising with the APR Panel to ensure smooth implementation of APRM in Uganda, and providing linkage between the President and the APRM National Commission.
“In order to ensure the independence of the APRM Commission in the Uganda process it was decided that the Focal Point should not be a substantive member of the Commission but participate in consultative events and provide a channel of communication between the Commission and the Government.
“As the Commission can testify, the Government has not interfered in its work during the entire duration of the APRM process and as per APRM guidelines the Government never issued directives to the APRM Commission although it is adequately represented on the Commission by technocrats and elected politicians”.
He added that the Government of Uganda, through the National Planning Authority (NPA), is dedicated to the integration of the NEPAD and APRM initiatives within the national development frameworks so as to ensure harmonisation with ongoing Government programmes.
“Your Excellency, I am happy to inform you that the fruits of APRM are already being realised as far as integrating the APRM findings in the national planning development processes is concerned. The APRM Country Self-Assessment report and the resultant Programme of Action are currently being used as a backbone by the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) Review Committee”.
The Chairperson of the APRM National Commission in Uganda, Prof. Elisha Semakula, confirmed that the Commission conducted Uganda’s APRM self-assessment in an independent, non-partisan and professional manner free from any form of manipulation.
“To this end, we would like to thank the Government once again for this enabling environment”.
The Country Review Mission is now visiting Uganda to ascertain the extent to which the Self-Assessment report and Programme of Action reflect the views of the people of Uganda.
It is being led by Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, the Chairperson of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons who is also the Panel Member responsible for Uganda’s peer review process.
The Country Review team is consulting widely with all the key stakeholders and private sector, Government institutions, statutory bodies, judiciary, Parliament and civil society among others.
The team will produce a report following which the Government will have an opportunity to make a formal response. Source : NEPAD, february 15, 2008