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African Union Leaders Unite to Tackle Agricultural Crisis at Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit in Nairobi

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Heads of State and Government of the African Union recently convened in Nairobi, Kenya, for the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit, reaffirming their commitment to transforming agriculture on the continent. The summit, held from 7th to 9th May 2024, focused on the crucial need to increase fertilizer use and promote sustainable soil management to enhance agricultural productivity, end hunger, and alleviate poverty in Africa.

The Nairobi Declaration, a key outcome of the summit, highlights several commitments and key themes:

Increased Fertilizer Production: Commitment to tripling domestic production and distribution of certified quality organic and inorganic fertilizers by 2034, with a focus on local production and blending using locally available raw materials.

Soil Health Restoration: A commitment to reverse land degradation and restore soil health on at least 30% of degraded soil by 2034, with actions such as promoting integrated soil and water conservation and incentivizing soil health investments by smallholder farmers.

Agronomic Recommendations: By 2034, targeted agronomic recommendations for specific crops, soils, and climatic conditions will be made available to at least 70% of smallholder farmers, ensuring greater efficiency and sustainable use of fertilizers.

Financing Mechanism: The Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) will be fully operationalized to improve production, procurement, and distribution of organic and inorganic fertilizers, alongside supporting soil health interventions.

Policy and Regulatory Frameworks: Efforts will be made to formulate and implement policies and regulations to create a conducive environment for fertilizer and soil health interventions, including developing continent-wide guidelines and enhancing engagement with the private sector.

Capacity Building: There will be a focus on developing and promoting systemic national capacity building for locally relevant fertilizer and soil health management practices and technologies.

Implementation and Monitoring: Various bodies, including the AUC and AUDA-NEPAD, will support Member States in implementing and monitoring the commitments outlined in the declaration, with a post-summit implementation roadmap expected by November 2025.

The declaration underscores the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and investments in driving policies, finance, research and development, markets, and capacity building for fertilizer and sustainable soil health management in Africa. It reflects a shift towards a broader focus on social, environmental, and economic sustainability in agriculture, highlighting the continent’s determination to achieve transformative change in its agricultural sector.

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