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Meeting On Fertilizer Use, Soil Health In Africa 0pens In Kenya

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Xinhua

The Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit kicked off on Tuesday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, with senior officials renewing a call for eco-friendly regeneration of farmlands to boost food and nutrition security in the continent.

More than 1,500 delegates, including agriculture ministers, representatives of regional blocs, donor agencies, the private sector, academia and civil society, are attending the three-day gathering, under the theme of “Listen to the Land.”

Kenyan Prime Cabinet Secretary and Minister for Foreign and Diaspora Affairs Musalia Mudavadi said the summit offers an opportunity to discuss innovative ways to reverse loss of soil nutrients that has escalated the continent’s hunger crisis.

“We need ambitious and long-term plans to boost the health and productivity of our soils,” he said. “Prudent use of both organic and inorganic fertilizers will be key to feed Africa’s growing population.”

Convened by the African Union (AU), the Kenyan government and multilateral partners, the 2024 Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit is expected to culminate in the adoption of a communique on rejuvenating the continent’s arable land.

The meeting will review the Abuja declaration of 2006, which calls for increasing fertilizer use to boost agricultural productivity in the continent, and Soil Initiative for Africa, endorsed in 2020, on enhancing productivity of the continent’s arable land.

A 10-year action plan, spanning 2024-2034, is expected to be endorsed, at the conclusion of the summit on Thursday, charting a new roadmap for improving soil health in the continent.

Mudavadi said that regenerating African soils in the face of fertility loss linked to habitat destruction, climate change and poor agronomical practices requires investments in local fertilizer manufacturing.

AU data indicate that average fertilizer use per hectare in Africa has remained at 5 to 10 kilograms since 1990, less than 10 percent of the global average.

AU Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment Josefa Sacko said the continent is ripe for an agrarian revolution, subject to political goodwill, innovative financing and adoption of novel innovations to boost soil health.

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