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African leaders pledge to enhance soil health

African leaders have also committed to reversing land degradation and restoring soil health on at least 30% of degraded soil by 2033
African leaders pledge to enhance soil health www.whoownsafrica.com African leaders pledge to enhance soil health www.whoownsafrica.com
African leaders pledge to enhance soil health www.whoownsafrica.com.

The recently concluded Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit (AFSH) organized by the African Union has led to a groundbreaking commitment by African leaders to boost and enhance soil health across the continent.

The summit saw the adoption of a 10-year action plan aimed at increasing investments in the local production and distribution of both organic and inorganic fertilizers, ensuring they reach 70% of small-holder farmers in Africa.

The action plan reaffirms the 2006 Abuja declaration goal, which aims to triple fertilizer use in Africa to reach the target of 50 kilograms per hectare of arable land. This commitment is crucial to addressing the disparity in fertilizer use across the continent, where the average fertilizer use rate stands at about 18 kilograms, less than half of the target set in 2006.

African leaders pledge to enhance soil health www.whoownsafrica.com
African leaders pledge to enhance soil health www.whoownsafrica.com

During his speech at the closure of the summit, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, highlighted the importance of addressing this gap in fertilizer use. He acknowledged that Africa is below the global average in terms of fertilizer use and emphasized the need for African leaders to learn from past experiences and apply the lessons to achieve the set target.

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Moreover, African leaders have also committed to reversing land degradation and restoring soil health on at least 30% of degraded soil by 2033. This ambitious goal will require concerted efforts from governments, international organizations, and local communities to implement sustainable agricultural practices that promote soil health and fertility.

Since the Abuja declaration goal, only 10 countries have managed to meet or surpass the 50 Kg/ha goal, including Morocco, Eswatini, Botswana, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Egypt. These countries have shown significant advancements in their agricultural practices, with some even surpassing expectations. However, despite the progress made, many African countries still heavily rely on imports for fertilizers, leaving them vulnerable to market fluctuations and shocks.

African leaders pledge to enhance soil health www.whoownsafrica.com
African leaders pledge to enhance soil health www.whoownsafrica.com.

Moreover, there has been criticism regarding the reliance on chemical fertilizers in the action plan proposed by some agricultural experts, soil scientists, activists, and farmer groups. They argue that soil health is a critical factor in ensuring sustainable food production and that merely relying on chemical fertilizers is not a long-term solution. They advocate for a holistic approach to soil health, emphasizing the importance of organic fertilizers and sustainable practices.

Research has shown that inorganic fertilizers alone may not be sufficient to increase yields in Africa due to soil acidity issues that affect the utilization of nitrogen fertilizers. Studies have also highlighted the benefits of integrating organic and inorganic fertilizers to improve crop productivity. Therefore, it is essential for African countries to consider a balanced approach to fertilization that takes into account soil health and sustainability for long-term food security.

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