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Due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), governments all over the globe have placed restrictions on various forms of travel and trade. In many nations in Africa, where rates of food insecurity and malnutrition remain high, a prolonged restriction on the import and distribution of agricultural inputs could have profound negative impact on food production, which could cause a hunger crisis in addition to a sanitary one.

What is the West Africa Fertilizer Watch?

IFDC, WAFA, and AfricaFertilizer.org are working to ensure that fertilizers and other agricultural inputs are not limited, but rather supported, by governments’ decisions, so that they can continue to reach farmers in time for the growing season. This initiative is supported by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), the Permanent Interstate Committee for drought control in the Sahel (CILSS), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The Fertilizer Watch is designed to provide weekly updates to stakeholders throughout ECOWAS countries, including Chad and Mauritania, using data collected around 10 indicators. These indicators are related to a variety of information such as the spread of COVID-19, measures taken by country governments, and logistical constraints that affect fertilizer flows. The goal is a well-informed and prepared fertilizer supply chain, where actors can use the information to plan accordingly and ensure consistent delivery to farmers.

IFDC also publishes a bi-weekly Fertilizer Watch for East and Southern Africa.

Current Highlights

Published Friday, May 29, 2020. These highlights will be updated every Friday.

  • This week, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the region has again slowed down, growing by only 21% compared to 28% the previous week, leading countries in the region to further relax movement, economic, and health restrictions. 
  • Imports and local production of blended fertilizers continued, with raw material and finished product stock levels expected to be sufficient to cover the season’s needs in the major fertilizer-consuming countries.
  • Distribution of fertilizers to producers has already begun in many countries, whether under government subsidy programs (Ghana and Senegal) or not (cotton programs in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina, PFI in Nigeria). Retailers are generally well stocked, even if sales are still limited, and farmers are sometimes afraid to travel (e.g. Ghana). Smuggling of fertilizer from the Ghanaian PFJ to Burkina Faso already seems to be quite active.
  • The map below shows the fertilizer distribution programs in progress, and their level of compliance with the draft/future ECOWAS Directive on smart design and management of fertilizer Subsidy programs. Reforms have been substantive in some subsidy programs, notably in Ghana, Togo, Senegal and Burkina Faso. Nine countries are implementing and/or designing COVID-19-specific  fertilizer support programs, most of them by increasing the outreach of their existing programs, with subsidy rates ranging from 10% to 70%.

Faits Marquants

  • On note à nouveau un ralentissement du nombre de nouveaux cas de COVID-19, de +21 % contre +28 % la semaine précédente, amenant les pays de la région à assouplir les restrictions économiques et sanitaires. 
  • Les importations et la production locale d’engrais de mélange se poursuivent, avec des stocks de matières premières et de produits finis qui devraient être suffisants pour couvrir les besoins de la campagne dans les principaux pays consommateurs.
  • La distribution des engrais aux producteurs a déjà commencé dans de nombreux pays, que ce soit dans le cadre des subventions (Ghana, Sénégal) ou non (programmes coton au Bénin, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina; PFI au Nigéria). Les détaillants sont en général correctement approvisionnés, même si les ventes sont encore timides, et si les paysans ont parfois peur ou des difficultés à se déplacer. La contrebande d’engrais du PFJ ghanéen vers le Burkina Faso semble être déjà active.
  • La carte ci-dessous montre les programmes de distribution d’engrais en cours, et leur niveau de conformité avec la directive provisoire/future de la CEDEAO sur la conception et la gestion intelligente des programmes de subvention des engrais. Les réformes ont été importantes dans certains programmes de subvention, notamment au Ghana, au Togo, au Sénégal et au Burkina Faso. Neuf pays sont en train de mettre en œuvre et/ou de concevoir des programmes de soutien aux engrais spécifiques à COVID-19, la plupart d’entre eux en augmentant la portée de leurs programmes existants. Les taux de subvention varient de 10% à 70%.

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