BY LEVI JOHNSON
Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) has launched a $2.2 million project to provide fertilizer suppliers in Nigeria with financial support to improve supply for 200,000 smallholder farmers.
The trade-credit guarantee project is AFFM’s first in the West African nation and will involve 10 fertilizer suppliers, 12 hub agro-dealers and 120 retail agro-dealers. The project will also train farmers in proper fertilizer use and other agricultural best practices.
A project launch held on 3 March in the capital Abuja, was attended by senior director of African Development Bank’s (www.AfDB.org) Nigeria Regional Office, Ebrima Faal and government and industry partners.
Participants discussed the project and its implementation with AFFM’s local partner, the Africa Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership, or AFAP.
“We will leverage on existing networks and look for creative solutions to increase the availability of fertilizer in the country,” said Nana-Aisha Mohammed, AFAP’s representative at the ceremony.
Umar Musa, Assistant Director of FMARD’s Farm Inputs Support Services Department who represented the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) said AFAP should work with the Nigerian government and other actors in the fertilizer value chain to ensure that the project complies with Nigeria’s policies and sector strategies.
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“We expect this project to support smallholder farmers and improve their productivity in order to help the country increase its local production and consumption of fertilizer,” he said.
“We are confident that the project will increase access to quality and affordable fertilizer by smallholder farmers and hence contribute to the transformation of the agriculture sector in Nigeria,” said Marie Claire Kalihangabo, AFFM Coordinator.
Kalihangabo expressed her gratitude to the Government of Nigeria for their financial support to the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism.
The Bank’s Nigeria Regional Office Faal said the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act 2019 further serves to reinforce the government’s commitment to the sector.
“This program is timely because the government has placed measures to encourage local production of fertilizer,” he said.