West African agriculture: ECOWAS, partners launch committee for fertilizer control

West African agriculture: ECOWAS, partners launch committee for fertilizer control

The Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) and its regional partners have launched a strategic regional committee for fertilizer control to address West Africa’s fertilizer quality challenges.

ECOWAS, in cooperation with the West African Economic and Monetary Community (UEMOA) and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), has officially launched the West African Committee for Fertilizer Control (WACoFeC) to facilitate the joint implementation of the region’s harmonized regulation relating to fertilizer quality control. Their joint effort is expected to contribute to the development of the fertilizer sector in ECOWAS member states and promote agricultural production and productivity across the region. In particular, the WACoFeC aims to enhance common approaches, consultations, and information and experience sharing on establishing and/or strengthening national fertilizer regulatory bodies and member states’ designated fertilizer testing laboratories.

Over the years, issues related to fertilizer quality, access, and use have been a major challenge that limits the West Africa region’s potential to produce enough food to feed its populations and address food security and nutrition challenges. In light of this, the 2006 Abuja Declaration recommended efforts to increase Africa’s fertilizer use from 8 kg/ha to at least 50 kg/ha. The regional process aimed at harmonizing fertilizer laws and regulations in West Africa to promote a competitive regional fertilizer market was initiated by the he ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions in 2010.

In May, the presidents of Togo, Niger, and Guinea Bissau launched a regional call to improve access to fertilizers in West Africa. The leaders did so in the Togolese capital at the close of a top-level meeting to enhance fertilizer security in West Africa. “Without vision, without a strategy, fertilizers quickly become the source of degradation of soils, rather than restoring them,” said Faure Gnassingbé, President of Togo.

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