Fertilizer industry calls on governments to expand Africa’s infrastructure
28 August 2002 – Johannesburg, South Africa
IFA urges governments at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg to make infrastructure investment a priority for poor, rural regions.
Pedro Sanchez, latest winner of the World Food Prize, called on governments to put policies in place to make fertilizers more accessible for farmers in Africa, where soil fertility is declining. He made his remarks during discussions on agriculture among governments and representatives of business and industry, international organizations, farmers and other groups,
The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) backs this call. “The cost of transporting fertilizers 100 km inland are greater than those of bringing the nutrients across the Atlantic Ocean because of the poor transport infrastructure in Africa,” said Luc Maene, Director General of IFA. “Resulting high costs mean that many African farmers cannot afford the plant nutrients they desperately need. Governments, farmers and business must work together to solve this problem”.
Farmers need greater market opportunities, both at local and international levels. However, if all agricultural markets were fully opened immediately, many farmers would still be left out. The same transport systems that can lower fertilizer costs would also allow farmers in developing countries to get their products to markets. Telecommunications could help agricultural producers get real-time information to better participate in markets. Finally, investment in food processing in developing countries would allow them to export value-added goods, reducing their dependence on unpredictable commodity markets.
For more information, please contact Kristen E. Sukalac, Head of Information
and Communications for the International Fertilizer Industry Association at
the World Summit for Sustainable Development until 4 September:
IFA is participating in the business and industry delegation coordinated by the Business Action for Sustainable Development.