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The Feed the Future Enhancing Growth through Regional Agricultural Input Systems (EnGRAIS) Project for West Africa is leading efforts to help farmers increase their yields through appropriate nutrient management practices using the 4R Principles of Nutrient Stewardship.

On August 28, experts from the EnGRAIS project, implemented by IFDC, held a virtual meeting that brought together strategic partners, including the West African Fertilizer Association, AGRA, the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership, and the African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI), to discuss ways to support agricultural value chain actors, especially farmers, in improving their productivity by strengthening their fertilizer management skills.

The 4Rs prescribes the Right source, ensuring the appropriate nutrient source; the Right rate, applying the correct amount of nutrients; the Right time, selecting the optimal time for nutrient application; and the Right place, applying nutrients where plants can easily access them.

The 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship concept aims to increase farmers’ production and productivity, subsequently improving their livelihoods.

Originating from the The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), in collaboration with the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), the International Fertilizer Association, and the Canadian Fertilizer Institute (CFI), these principles are globally recognized as best practices for optimizing agricultural productivity while minimizing negative environmental effects.

A group of people participating in a virtual meeting.
Stakeholders participate in a virtual meeting to brainstorm ways to promote the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship concept.

This session is a prelude to an upcoming meeting to determine more concrete methods of promotion. This initiative is significant, as it perfectly aligns with Priority Action 7 of the West Africa Soil Health and Fertility Roadmap, which emerged from the High-Level Roundtable on Fertilizers, held in Lomé, Togo, in May 2023.

One outcome of this effort is to integrate training programs on the 4Rs within the West African Fertilizer Association, the main regional private sector fertilizer network in West Africa. The goal is to sustainably enhance the value chain, thus bolstering successful fertilizer application and consequently contributing to increased agricultural yields for producers.

Fertilizers are an essential nutrient source to increase farmers’ yields and achieve food security. However, they are expensive and potentially unsafe for the environment if misused. Therefore, promoting the adoption of the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship at farm level is needed to ensure agronomic and economic viability and environmental sustainability.

The Feed the Future Enhancing Growth through Regional Agricultural Input Systems (EnGRAIS) Project for West Africa is one of the many assistance programs supported by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)