“The term “food security” is everywhere in the news media, but do you ever wonder how the actual solution to hunger in the developing world is being played out?

Results are tangible at the Farm Chemicals International Trade Summit, where crop input buyers and sellers help fortify the value chain. More than 230 delegates from 16 countries gathered at the Accra International Conference Center from May 6-8, 2012; the summit marked FCI’s third event in Africa since launching in 2007. Here in West Africa, agricultural industry experts and NGOs, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s CNFA, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and USAID discussed how improving smallholder farmers’ access to knowledge and technology can boost the region’s lagging productivity to help knock out food insecurity…

…Patrice Annequin, marketing development specialist for IFDC, told attendees that fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa hovers at less than 8 kg per hectare per year, still a fraction of the 50 kg the organization is targeting by 2015. Fertilizers are too expensive for many, and prices can sometimes double in a month, as in 2007. In addition, weak regional market integration leads to dramatic price variations for subsidies.

‘IFDC aims to overcome these obstacles by providing better access to information so farmers can link up with agro-dealers, and ultimately pay cheaper prices,’ he said. The organization runs the online database AMITSA, http://www.esoko.com/amitsa, an up-to-date listing of retail prices for crop inputs. Prices are collected via SMS from agrodealers by the thousands, facilitating transparency in the market….”

Read the full press release from FCI.

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