After 15 years of enhancing agriculture in Kenya, the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) opened its doors to major stakeholders by hosting a ground-breaking Open Door Event on March 7 in Nairobi. Commemorating the organization’s 50th anniversary, this vibrant event hosted key partners from the public and private sectors, donor communities, and development organizations.

Following its establishment in 2009, the IFDC office in Kenya began advancing the national agricultural agenda through partnerships with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and other relevant stakeholders. By implementing a wide range of programs, IFDC’s interventions have directly and indirectly contributed to Kenya’s economic growth through enhanced agricultural productivity and the establishment of resilient market systems.

Professor Ruth Oniang’o (left) and Dr. Gilbert Muthee, Director of Agribusiness and Market Development (right), speak on the crucial role partnership plays for a food-secure world.

Reflecting on this rich legacy while also setting a course for the future, the Open Door event provided a platform for industry players to engage in meaningful discussions, foster collaborations, and build strategic synergies. The event also showcased IFDC’s innovative technologies, which align with and support Kenya’s national agriculture agenda. From cutting-edge soil health technologies to sustainable farming practices, IFDC has continually developed solutions that contribute to food security and economic development.

“IFDC’s vision is to research, develop, and transfer nutrient use efficiency and soil health technologies to nourish a world of nearly 10 billion people by 2050.”

Henk van duijn, ifdc president and ceo

During her welcome address, IFDC Kenya Country Director Bridget Okumu noted, “We have opened our doors to give our partners a chance to explore our initiatives, engage with our teams, and witness firsthand the impact of our current interventions, which include collating fertilizer statistics, conducting fertilizer and nutrient trials, building the capacity of potato value chain actors, and incubating and accelerating agribusinesses and entrepreneurs.”

Bridget Okumu, IFDC Kenya Country Director, attends and makes a compelling speech on the goals of the Open Door events.

Speaking about IFDC’s mission, President and CEO Henk van Duijn said, “Our goal at IFDC is to offer innovative solutions to challenges in fertilizer and soil health for governments, implementing partners, the fertilizer industry, farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, and investors.”

IFDC’s strategy to implement this mission focuses on developing technologies that restore soil health, catalyzing agricultural yields to ensure that farmers produce more with less, establishing robust market systems that enable farmers to manage obstacles and capitalize on opportunities, strengthening policies and regulations, sharing important knowledge and data, and improving technical skills in the public and private sectors.

IFDC President and CEO Henk van Duijn shares IFDC’s mission and strategy to feed nearly 10 billion people by 2050.

Dr. Gilbert Muthee, Director of Agribusiness and Market Development, spoke on behalf of Dr. Paul Ronoh, the Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, observing the importance of cooperation, saying, “IFDC’s collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture began in the early 1990s with joint projects to privatize and develop fertilizer markets and training programs on agro-input market development.”

Initiated by signing a memorandum of understanding in 2016, this partnership between IFDC and the Ministry of Agriculture continues to boost agricultural productivity in Kenya through the introduction of appropriate technologies such as integrated soil fertility management.

IFDC Kenya team cuts a cake to commemorate the organization’s 50th anniversary.

IFDC specifically implements two projects in Kenya to foster market development and soil health improvement in the country. These projects are:

On behalf of Dr. Ronoh, Dr. Muthee further noted that concerted interventions by all stakeholders in the agriculture sector are needed to improve soil health. These collaborative efforts to achieve better soil health, he concluded, will ultimately lower farmers’ costs of production and create a sustainable farming system that can regenerate itself.

Affirming Dr. Ronah’s remarks, Professor Ruth Oniang’o, former IFDC board member and winner of the 2017 Africa Food Prize, pointed out that partnership is crucial to a self-reliant and food-secure Africa.