The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in cooperation with the West African Economic and Monetary Community (UEMOA) and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), has officially launched the West African Committee for Fertilizer Control (WACoFeC) to support the joint implementation of the region’s harmonized Regulation C/REG.13/12/12, relating to fertilizer quality control. The effort will contribute to the development of the fertilizer sector in ECOWAS Member States and promote agricultural production and productivity across the region.
IFDC, through its Feed the Future Enhancing Growth through Regional Agricultural Input Systems (EnGRAIS) project, provided technical support to the launch event and the Committee’s first statutory meeting held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on September 26-28. The event brought together over 50 key fertilizer value chain actors, particularly national and regional level fertilizer regulatory officials, across the 15 ECOWAS-UEMOA countries plus Chad and Mauritania.
Over the years, issues related to fertilizer quality, access, and use have been a major challenge that limits the West Africa region’s potential to produce enough food to feed its populations and address food security and nutrition challenges. In light of this, the 2006 Abuja Declaration recommended efforts to increase Africa’s fertilizer use from 8 kg/ha to at least 50 kg/ha.
As a technical advisor in the West Africa region, IFDC has been providing support to ECOWAS, UEMOA, and CILSS, as well as their Member States, on fertilizer-related issues. This effort began in 1995, when IFDC conducted a study that revealed various challenges facing the fertilizer sector, including quality issues.
“In December 2012, the ECOWAS Council of Ministers adopted Regulation C/REG.13/12/12 regarding quality control of fertilizers within the ECOWAS region. The WACoFeC has been inaugurated to promote the implementation of the regulation. This is the culmination of efforts over the past 10 years, coordinated by IFDC and its regional partners, including ECOWAS, UEMOA, and CILSS, to implement these harmonized regional regulations to contribute to the development of the fertilizer sector in Member States,” noted Sansan Youl, Chief of Party of the EnGRAIS project.
“We experienced a sense of fulfillment, but we acknowledge that the real challenges lie ahead. We must remain vigilant alongside ECOWAS, UEMOA and CILSS to ensure the genuine implementation of these measures for the advancement of the agricultural sector in West Africa and the Sahel.”Sansan Youl, Chief of Party of the EnGRAIS Project
In 2010, the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions initiated a regional process aimed at harmonizing fertilizer laws and regulations in West Africa to promote a competitive regional fertilizer market. IFDC has provided technical and financial support for this through its Marketing Inputs Regionally Plus project and subsequent West Africa Fertilizer Program and now the EnGRAIS project.
As a result of IFDC’s contribution and expertise, the ECOWAS Commission mandated the organization to coordinate the establishment of the National Committees for Fertilizer Control in the 17 ECOWAS–UEMOA–CILSS countries and manage the WACoFeC Secretariat. Outputs from the recent High-Level Roundtable on Fertilizer and Soil Health in West Africa and the Sahel, held May 30-31 in Lomé, Togo, have reaffirmed the urgency for the launch of the WACoFeC and its first statutory meeting. These outputs included a ministerial declaration and its associated roadmap, which were adopted by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers in Guinea-Bissau in July 2023.
The WACoFeC is expected to assist the regional economic communities in the implementation of the harmonized regional fertilizer regulation to contribute to the development of the fertilizer sector in Member States. The Committee’s regulatory oversight role is expected to enhance common approaches, consultations, and information and experience sharing on establishing and/or strengthening national fertilizer regulatory bodies and Member States’ designated fertilizer testing laboratories.
Access media coverage on the launch and first meeting of the West African Committee for Fertilizer Control (WACoFeC) below.
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).