Speaking Thursday during the Africa Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit in Nairobi, Faki told the delegates that leveraging on the available resources would play a critical role towards delivering quality fertilizers to African farmers at affordable prices.

The objective of the three-day summit themed “Listen To The Land” is to deliberate and shape policies and strategies that will drive agricultural transformation across Africa.

He singled out the African Centre for Fertilizer Development (ACFD), a consulting organization based in Zimbabwe’s Capital Harare, established in 1987 by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) as one of those assets.

“Some African countries produce fertilizers, but we depend mostly on imported fertilizers making them very expensive for our farmers, yet the African centre for fertilizer development based in Zimbabwe has been in existence since the 1980s,” Faki said.

“We must optimize use of such existing continental assets to boost local fertilizer production and deliver quality fertilizers to African farmers at affordable prices.”

He pointed out that fertilizers constitute a critical input for productivity if properly used according to accepted scientific norms.

In terms of fertilizer use, Faki said that Africa is below the global average and the target set by the African Heads of States and Government in 2006 where they endorsed the Abuja Declaration on fertilizer for a green revolution in Africa with a target of 50 kg per hectare per year.

He noted that the average fertilizer use rate stands at about 18 kg less than the half of the target set in 2006.

The AUC Chairperson emphasized that the investments in the agricultural sector is necessary to improve the Continent’s food security which is being threatened by several factors including climate change shocks.

He pointed out that such investments should also be reflected in the national budgets of the member states.

Faki however noted that the AU’s biennial review indicate that the continent is far from attaining the targets set in Malabo in 2014 which he says gave the continent a clear implementation road map.

The Malabo declaration was made by Heads of State and Government of the African Union, during the 23rd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, from 26-27 June 2014, on the Theme of the African Year of Agriculture and Food Security.

“The ownership is partly hamstrung by our over dependence on partners for the financing of our agricultural development ambitions, it is simply not sustainable,” he said.

The AUC Chairperson further advocated for a renewed strong political will by member States through the mobilisation of domestic resources to reflect the priority of the agricultural sector and as defined in Malabo.

He insisted that it is upto the continent to lead a pragmatic technological revolution to transform the agricultural and reinforce the capacity to implement them.

Faki argued that strong agricultural investments would also help alleviate the current unemployment crises across the continent.

“Agriculture remains a strategic and key lever for continental industrialization and creation of jobs that are also vital for development, stability and prosperity,” he said.

“It is therefore up to us to harness our collective determination and resources in addressing soil health and fertilizer use in a holistic manner if we are to achieve sustainable food system on our continent.”

He asserted that through collaboration, the continent can produce the required fertilizers and agricultural inputs.

By Fred Odanga.