IFDC, EBID collaborate to improve soil health in West Africa

The International Fertiliser Development Centre (IFDC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) to collaborate in improving soil health and plant nutrition in West Africa. 

This mutual collaboration between IFDC and EBID will engender multifaceted programmes with the sole purpose of promoting growth and development of the agricultural sector in West Africa.

The MoU signed on December 4, 2020 further advances the partnership between the West African Fertilizer Association (WAFA) and EBID. 

In collaboration with the ECOWAS Agriculture Commission, EBID has been mandated by WAFA to structure and mobilise funding for soil health development in the region.

Under the agreement, IFDC will partner with EBID to support soil fertility mapping in ECOWAS countries and the rollout of the ECOWAS Agricultural and Investment Program. Moreover, IFDC and EBID will pool their resources to assist ECOWAS countries in their efforts to import fertilizers and inputs guided by the soil mapping programs, in order to sustainably increase farm productivity, profitability, and resilience of smallholder farming systems in West Africa.

Similarly, EBID will cooperate with IFDC to provide advisory support to the ECOWAS Agriculture Commission to launch the ECOWAS Agricultural and Investment Program, and execute the mandate given by WAFA to secure funding and provide association members with project advisory services.

“We are pleased to continue to enhance our relationship with ECOWAS through this agreement,” noted Dr Oumou Camara, IFDC’s Regional Director of North and West Africa.

“This collaboration represents a great step forward in assisting the smallholders of the region to access and apply appropriate fertilizers and inputs to contribute to regional soil health and secure a sustainable path to increase crop productivity, farm incomes, and food and nutrition security.”

The Vice President of EBID, Dr Mabouba Diagne, stated, “Improving the agricultural sector in the ECOWAS member countries is one of five priority areas in which EBID will focus its financing during the next four years. As such, the mutual partnership between EBID and IFDC, which has been put into motion by the signing of this MoU, will see that EBID’s technical expertise and funding provide beneficial avenues that our member states could exploit to develop their agricultural systems, and create sustainable farming practices and processes.”

Though West Africa accounts for 2 per cent of global fertiliser consumed, fertiliser application rates in the region are still low due to logistical challenges, including reliance on imports that may or may not be appropriate for the various soils in the region. The partnership between ECOWAS and IFDC will contribute to solutions for these and other issues, ultimately taking advantage of the high agricultural potential of the region.

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