With the increasing interest in developing and delivering Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) options to farmers across Africa, and the aim of increasing crop yields, and maintaining and restoring soil health, the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI), and IITA, also representing the Excellence in Agronomy (EiA) Initiative of CGIAR, are exploring collaboration towards strengthening the delivery of technical assistance to future investments in the agronomy space. 

Following a recently held Round Table on Fertilizer and Soil Health organized by the World Bank in Lomé, Togo, the leadership of IITA and IFDC confirmed that joining forces, based on respective expertise, network, and institutional footprint, would strengthen development and delivery of agronomic science solutions. 

IITA and IFDC in the past decades have invested substantially in developing and delivering agronomic science solutions aimed at increasing crop productivity of African farming systems through the appropriate deployment of fertilizer, organic inputs, good agronomic practices, and other necessary amendments.  

Through these engagements, the organizations have built up specific expertise in the areas of research and agronomy, and created an institutional footprint on the continent. However, cooperation has been limited and potential synergies based on the unique strengths of each organization have not materialized. 

In this context, IFDC, APNI, and IITA-CGIAR have agreed to map their respective strengths, identify complementary expertise, and align areas of common interest towards joint engagement in various upcoming fertilizer, soil health, and agronomy investments in Africa. 

This development is coming at a time when the African Agribusiness and Science Week is taking place and the African Union Fertilizer and Soil Health Summit is approaching, and the leaders of the various organizations are committing to contributing to sustainable agriculture, improved food security, and increased income for smallholder farmers in Africa. 

This news article originally appeared on IITA.org.

Contributed by Timilehin Osunde