IFA pledges support to the African Fertilizer Finance Mechanism to increase access to fertilizers for African smallholders



Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 15 July 2015 – A fertilizer industry delegation led by IFA Director General Charlotte Hebebrand and including IFA Ambassador Tip O’Neill attended a week-long series of meetings in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia around the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, where they emphasized the importance of agriculture in achieving food security and poverty alleviation, and highlighted the need for smallholders to achieve better access to agricultural inputs. 

IFA’s Director General participated in a roundtable on ensuring policy coherence and an enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development moderated by Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and co-chaired by the ministers of finance from Columbia and Sweden.  She referred to the large private sector delegation attending the International Business Forum, and the eagerness of private sector players to contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of countries where they are investing.  

On July 15th IFA and African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) co-hosted a side-event on the topic of supporting African smallholder farmers and agri-sector SMEs via innovative financing structures, with a particular focus on the fertilizer value chain. The side-event was kicked off by Dr. Amos Namanga Ngongi, Chairman of AFAP and Former President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) who stated that “African smallholder farmers and small-scale agribusiness suffer from a lack of finance for working capital and infrastructure investment, which hinders their operations and in turn cripples economic growth across the continent.” 

Speakers also included Ethiopian farmer Daniel Gad, Malawi agro-dealer Dinnah Kapiza, Benedict Kanu of the African Development Bank (AfDB), US fertilizer retailer and IFA member Tip O’Neill and Nega Wubeneh of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA). The panelists identified finance constraints within the fertilizer value chain in particular and examined some solutions to address these constraints being proposed by multilateral development banks (MDBS), governments, the private sector and civil society.  The overarching consensus was well-summarized by Jason Scarpone, AFAP President who concluded that “small-and medium-scale agribusinesses need credit lines and long-term loans to invest in infrastructure to improve access to inputs and markets for smallholders. “

IFA’s mission to Addis culminated with its participation in the Third Governing Council Meeting of the Africa Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) on 16 July. IFA Director General welcomed the operationalization of the AFFM in “this historic year 2015: the International Year of Soils and the year the Sustainable Development Goals.” Hebebrand congratulated the African Development Bank for launching this innovative financing mechanism, and expressed her confidence that the AFFM will prosper since the incoming President of the AfDB, Minister Akin Adesina, “was one of the architects of the 2006 Abuja Fertilizer Summit, and   understands so well the importance of sustainable input use for driving agricultural productivity.”

Hebebrand pledged financial support from the industry to the AFFM, which should be used to support access to finance to strengthen the “missing link of the African fertilizer supply chain:” the SMEs who can bridge the gap between fertilizer producers and farmers. She pointed to the excellent work already being done by the African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and IFA’s desire for the AFFM and AFAP to continue their collaboration. Referring to the recognition of the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships to operationalize the post 2015 agenda in the Addis Ababa Action Plan finalized on 15 July, Hebebrand spoke of IFA’s pledge as one of the fertilizer industry’s contributions to helping implement the Sustainable Development Goals.


Notes to Editors

The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) is a trade association representing the global fertilizer industry, which provides the crop nutrients that allow farmers everywhere to meet the world's growing food, feed, fiber and bioenergy needs in a sustainable manner. IFA member companies represent all activities related to the production and distribution of every type of fertilizer, their raw materials and intermediates. IFA’s membership also includes organizations involved in agronomic research and training. IFA has some 550 members in about 86 countries. 


African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism (AFFM) aims to create a catalytic environment for the investments needed in Africa to enhance fertilizer production and consumption at affordable prices. It focuses on two types of activities, namely facilitation and encouraging the private sector to invest in fertilizer ventures aimed at expanding national and regional production capacity.

The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) is an independent non-profit organization founded by a Partnership of African development organization. It works to establish more competitive and sustainable fertilizer markets in Africa and to contribute to an African Green Revolution. AFAP unites the expertise and dedication of the public and private sectors to increase fertilizer affordability and accessibility for African smallholder farmers. Using an innovative partnership contract, AFAP joins industry and development interests to inspire productivity, food security and prosperity in Africa.


Media Contacts

Ms. Maria Antip, Public Affairs Policy Analyst - Communications & Public Affairs
International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA)
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