The African Centre for Biosafety has today released an in-depth report, The Political Economy of Africa’s burgeoning chemical fertiliser rush, which looks at the role of fertiliser in the Green Revolution push in Africa, some of the key present and future fertiliser trends on the continent and the major players involved in this.
The value of the global fertiliser industry is immense. In 2012 the global sales of NPK fertilisers alone were over US$200 billion, compared to a total global pesticide market of US$75 billion. Though Africa accounts for only around 1.6% of global consumption, discoveries of huge deposits of natural gas around the continent (a key fertiliser ingredient) is expected to result in a flurry of fertiliser plant construction, the costs of which are likely to run in the billions of dollars.
In parallel developments, the promotion of fertiliser use in Africa is a core component of the new Green Revolution push on the continent. This is most clearly articulated by the Abuja Declaration of 2006, which called for average fertiliser use across the continent to increase for 8kg per ha to 50kg per ha by 2015. In the interim, numerous initiatives have place increasing fertiliser use (particularly by small-holder farmers) at the centre of their activities, including the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Grow Africa and the G8 New Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition. The global fertilise industry, directly through the Norwegian giant Yara, and indirectly through industry bodies such as the International Fertiliser Development Centre, are heavily involved in these processes.