• May 24, 2024
  • Last Update May 23, 2024 10:27 PM
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Government set to host Africa fertilizer and soil health summit

Government set to host Africa fertilizer and soil health summit


Thursday, May 2, 2024

KNA by Bernadette Khaduli

The government in collaboration with the African Union is set to host the Second Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health (AFSH) Summit from May 7th to 9th this year at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.

The AFSH Summit which will be the continent’s largest soil health forum will be held under the leadership of President William Ruto and directed by the Chairperson of the African Union commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat.

The summit is expected to bring together over 2000 stakeholders from across the continent to evaluate the state of Africa’s soil health, network on how best issues affecting agriculture could be addressed as well as engage in business at the event themed ‘Listen to the Land’ that will culminate into a high-level Presidential Summit.

The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development Mithika Linturi, in a speech read on his by the Principal Secretary for Agriculture Dr. Kipronoh Ronoh at a Media Breakfast meeting held on Thursday at a Nairobi hotel, said the country is proud to be the second AU Member State to host the summit in 17 years.

“One of the key outcomes will be a Nairobi Declaration that will be a catalyst to achieve the goals set 17 years ago in Abuja where the first Summit was held in June 2006,” said Linturi.

He said the 10-year Action Plan that will be endorsed in the Nairobi Declaration will deliver concrete recommendations that would be undertaken by the African leaders and stakeholders over the next 10 years.

“The Action Plan will provide a focus for new policies and investments that will enable farmers to work towards re-building soil health and ultimately increase yields responses and profitability of fertilizers,” said the CS.

During the first Summit, Heads of State and Governments of AU endorsed the Abuja Declaration on Fertilizer for the Africa Green Revolution, a continental strategy aimed at reversing the worrying trend of poor productivity of the African soils.

The CS mentioned that the declaration focused on key targets required for agricultural growth, food security and rural development in the continent, with a focus on the role of fertilizers while recommending the rise in the use of fertilizers from 8kg nutrients per hectare to 50Kg of nutrients per hectare in 10 years.

“It also recommended the establishment of an African fertilizer financing mechanism to improve agricultural productivity by providing the finances required to boost fertilizer use in the continent,” he stated.

Linturi added that the aim of the financing mechanism was to achieve the target of 50kg of nutrients per hectare, noting that however, Africa still falls short of the Abuja Declaration targets, a need he said required the continent to explore its current soil condition and use of fertilizer and implement solutions fast to avert the worsening situations.

He said according to statistics, Africa still needs to improve on fertilizer use, noting that research indicated that the average amount of fertilizer applied to crops grown in the continent continued to degrade due to unstainable soil management practices.

“This is causing nutrient mining, increased soil degradation and reduced carbon stocks, resilience to climate change and shocks,” he stated, noting that the effects have led to low agricultural productivity, poor soils, as well as affected food and nutrition security of the continent.

Making her remarks virtually, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment of the African Union Commission Josefa Sacko said the summit is important as it will come up with a 10-year plan that will help the continent nourish its soils and become food secure by rising its productivity to feed its population by 2050.

“Many African countries rely on imports of fertilizer making them vulnerable. Time for action is now to stop the worsening of the soil for rapid transformation and ending malnutrition,” she said.

Sacko said there was need for regional partnership for investment, production capacity collaborative research, sharing of best practices and capacity building and inclusion of women in agricultural issues as contributors in the agricultural sector, noting that the summit Action Plan will help Africa’s economy to thrive.

Courtesy; KNA

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