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Date: July 11, 2024

Time: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. GMT

Key Speaker: Dr. Ekwe Dossa, IFDC Director of Soil Health and Agricultural Productivity

Rock phosphate, a valuable resource found in the subsoil of several West African countries such as Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo, remains largely untapped at respective local levels, particularly for use in agriculture. Currently, the phosphate mined in the region is either exported in its raw form or processed into phosphoric acid before being sold internationally. However, West Africa and the Sahel are facing a demographic challenge aggravated by the impact of climate change – a challenge which may be mitigated by utilizing this rock phosphate rather than exporting it. 

In Mali and Burkina Faso, the primary use of phosphate as fertilizer is direct soil application. Despite the low cost of rock phosphate in the areas where it is mined, scientific evidence indicates that direct application offers few immediate benefits for soil and plants. The need to provide farmers with affordable fertilizers has prompted numerous studies on the use of rock phosphate.

IFDC has conducted many such studies through the Feed the Future Enhancing Growth through Regional Agricultural Input Systems (EnGRAIS) project, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). To share the findings of its research and explore alternative ways to utilize local phosphate deposits, IFDC is hosting a webinar on July 11 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. GMT via Teams, featuring Dr. Ekwe Dossa, IFDC Director of Soil Health and Agricultural Productivity. 

This virtual event aims to inform audiences about innovative technologies the fertilizer industry could use to boost production capacity in West African countries. It will serve as an ideal platform for IFDC to update the West African fertilizer private sector on the latest manufacturing options, industry developments, and research, in line with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Fertilizer and Soil-Health Roadmap for West Africa and the Sahel. The goal is to strengthen the sector and enhance agricultural productivity. 

“The aim is to encourage private sector investment in new approaches, such as rock phosphate granulation and organo-mineral fertilizer production. These methods will enable companies to produce more fertilizer locally and efficiently while reducing their carbon footprint. This initiative should also make the region more resilient to external shocks and potentially lower the cost of fertilizers,” Dr. Dossa explains. 

This webinar organized by IFDC presents a valuable opportunity for stakeholders to learn about the scientific and technological advancements in rock phosphate mining in West Africa.