Improving Fertilizer Quality for Highly Productive Agriculture: Lessons from Country Assessments and Regulatory Systems in Africa and Asia

Join us in Arusha, Tanzania | May 7-11, 2018


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About the Training


For highly productive agriculture, it is imperative that fertilizers meet quality standards and that there are effective and efficient quality control systems that ensure delivery of good quality fertilizers to farmers.

Through enabling fertilizer laws and regulations, the developed countries in North America, Europe, and Australia solved the problems associated with fertilizer quality in the mid-20th century. Ensuring fertilizers’ quality in these countries was an important factor for the development of strong agricultural sectors that provided food, prime materials, and the capital needed for industrialization and further strengthening of the economies.

Despite numerous initiatives taken to improve the fertilizer regulations, fertilizer quality issues remain a challenge in many developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Recent studies conducted in fertilizer markets of West Africa countries found numerous products with Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium contents with 50 percent or higher shortages relative to the label specification. Problems with physical properties such as granule degradation, granule segregation in bulk blends, high moisture content and caking were encountered with high frequency. Bag weight shortages of 1 kg or higher were identified in at least 40% of the bags in some countries.  The problems described above were found both in countries that do not have any regulatory system in place, and in countries that have fertilizer regulatory laws that are partially or not implemented at all due to limitation or absolute lack of resources to execute the diverse components of a national regulatory framework.

Examples of common inappropriate storage conditions and management of fertilizers

Examples of inappropriate storage conditions and management of fertilizers very common among fertilizer retailers in developing countries: Storage with no ventilation, no use of pallets, manual handling that degrades granule integrity. Fertilizers that are sold from open bags, rebagged, and/or exposed to environmental conditions and to impurities can be contaminated.

The use of substandard or low-quality fertilizers has several potential damages to the agriculture sector: it affects the finances of individual farmers and the economy of entire countries and regions– especially in countries where the agriculture sector is the main component of the economy, like most of Africa, central and south Asia, and several countries in Latin America. Low fertilizer quality in these regions is a significant obstacle that not only undermines trust and discourages farmers from using fertilizer, but also curtails the efforts of governments and private organizations to pursue food security, poverty reduction, and national economic growth.

It is crucial to have fertilizer regulatory systems that not only properly regulate the type and quality of fertilizer that is sold in markets but also ensure that all participants in the fertilizer supply chain can make informed decisions in the production or blending of the product, as well as in its purchase and sale. Establishment of regional fertilizer quality regulatory systems (within existing regional economic communities) and implementation of the quality rules along the fertilizer distribution chains are key solutions. Implementation of regulatory systems demands knowledge about fertilizer markets, chemical and physical properties of fertilizers, identification and quantification of quality problems, and identification and quantification of factors with potential to affect quality of the fertilizers.

To improve the knowledge, understanding, and skills of those involved in fertilizer manufacturing, procurement, distribution, usage, policy and regulations, IFDC will conduct an international training program entitled “Improving Fertilizer Quality for Highly Productive Agriculture: Lessons from Country Assessments and Regulatory Systems in Africa and Asia.” The program will be held in Arusha, Tanzania, May 7-11, 2018. This training program, which will draw on lessons learned and best practices from IFDC and partner organizations in the world, targets all key players in the fertilizer value chain in developing countries.

About the Program


  • Policy makers, quality inspectors and government officials in charge of establishing and implementing fertilizer regulations and quality control systems.
  • Leaders of the private sector such as representatives of fertilizer importers, agro-dealer associations and regional farmers’ organizations that have an economic interest in these policies and regulations.
  • Scientists, technicians, and administrators from the fertilizer manufacturing industry.
  • Administrators, managers, and researchers from agroindustry.
  • Representatives of regional economic communities charged with harmonizing such regulations and removing barriers to regional trade.
  • Donors and financial institutions working in the field of agro-input markets development.
  • Researchers and organizations working on development of input value chains.


As a result of the five-day training program, participants will be able to:

    1. Identify quality problems in fertilizers.
    2. Identify fertilizer as well as management-related factors that influence quality of fertilizers.
    3. Identify external factors (other than fertilizer properties) that impact quality.
    4. Apply this knowledge to assess fertilizer quality for their businesses, countries or regions.
    5. Contribute to the design and implementation of national or regional quality regulations that ensure farmers the access to fertilizers that meet the required specifications.


The program faculty will include subject matter experts from IFDC and partner organizations.

Training Program Content

This training program will cover scientific approaches for conducting fertilizer quality assessments, identification of challenges, and development of targeted solutions to develop regulatory frameworks or strengthen existing ones.

  • Characterizing fertilizer quality issues:
    • Fertilizer-specific factors that define quality.
    • Fertilizer quality problems: nutrient shortages, inappropriate physical properties, mislabeling, underweight bags, etc.
    • Factors affecting fertilizer quality: manufacturing technology, management of products, and other value chain characteristics.
  • Sampling procedures for quality assessments
    • Sampling fertilizer dealers and fertilizer products to assess quality.
    • Data collection and data analysis.
    • Laboratory requirements to analyze samples and provide the relevant data for regulatory changes.
  • Country and regional regulatory systems
    • Developing, reforming and implementing regulatory systems based on findings from several studies in Africa and Asia.
    • Lessons learned from the implementation of the ECOWAS regulatory framework; applicability to the East and Southern Africa region.
    • A country perspective on quality regulations from Tanzania.
    • Developments and on-going efforts to develop a COMESA fertilizer regulatory framework.



The program will include formal instruction covering theoretical and practical aspects of fertilizer quality.  Sampling of fertilizers will be practiced using fertilizer bags and the appropriate equipment, and data collection using the phone digital system will be also practiced in the training room. Specialists in fertilizer quality policy and regulatory systems will also deliver the concepts, and experiences of working in several African and Asian countries. Interactive discussion involving the technical leaders and participants from diverse backgrounds (e.g., agricultural researchers, fertilizer manufacturers, agricultural producers, government officials, etc.) will be integral parts of the program to ensure that specific interests of the participants are covered.

Travel and Fees


The workshop will take place at the Naura Springs Hotel, which is located on East Africa Community Road just off the Nairobi Road in the heart of Arusha, Tanzania. Naura Springs is quite close to the Arusha International Conference Center (AICC) and overlooks magnificent Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. The hotel is easily accessible – just 45 minutes from Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO), 1.5 hours from the Namanga border and five minutes from the city center. Transportation from the airport to the hotel can be arranged for a fee by contacting the hotel.

Naura Springs Hotel has agreed to offer IFDC registered participants the exceptional rate of US $55.00 per room/per night for reservations made no later than April 7, 2018. This rate is for standard single rooms and inclusive of breakfast and all taxes. All rooms have digital satellite TVs, Internet connection, direct dial-out facilities, mini-bars, safety deposit boxes, tea- or coffee-making facilities, as well as spacious bathrooms with Jacuzzis and shower boxes. All rooms face magnificent Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. Participants should plan to arrive in Arusha, Tanzania, on Sunday, May 6, 2018.


APPLICATIONS FOR VISAS SHOULD BE MADE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Participants who are not eligible to enter Tanzania without a visa should apply at the nearest consulate or embassy of Tanzania for a visa. All required immunizations and health formalities should be completed. Medical insurance should be obtained by participants. The training program fee does not cover any medical insurance or expenses.

Enrollment and Fees



The program fee for this training course is US $1,650 per participant (inclusive of a US $250 non-refundable deposit) and should reach IFDC no later than April 7, 2018, four (4) weeks before the program is scheduled. Those received thereafter will be accepted at IFDC’s discretion and incur a late fee. Participants will be given the opportunity to take advantage of an early bird rate if registration and payment is received by IFDC prior to March 7, 2018. Please refer to the table below.

The program fee, less the non-refundable deposit, will be refunded for cancellations made two (2) weeks before the commencement of the program. Ninety percent of the paid fee will be returned and 10 percent, in addition to the deposit, will be charged to cover administrative costs for cancellations made between two (2) weeks and one (1) week before the commencement of the program. Cancellations made less than one (1) week before the commencement of the program will receive no refund.

Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Paid participants will receive priority. An organization wishing to enroll more than one participant should supply information and payment for each participant.

Payment of the program fee can be made by: (1) check or draft payable to IFDC; (2) wire transfer to IFDC’s account in the U.S.A. through First Metro Bank, 406 West Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., ABA number 062203955 for credit to IFDC account number 55281; or (3) major credit card – MasterCard, Visa or American Express.

The program fee covers registration, training and reference material, coffee/tea breaks, all lunches and surface transportation on field trips. The fee does not include air travel, lodging and dinner expenses or medical and communication expenses.



IFDC is a nonprofit, public international organization (PIO) dedicated to increasing agricultural productivity and food production through the development and use of plant nutrients in sustainable crop production systems. Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., IFDC is involved in human resource development, research and technical assistance in collaboration with public, private, national and international organizations throughout the world. IFDC has conducted more than 700 formal workshops, study tours and training programs for more than 11,000 participants from over 150 countries since 1974. The programs have covered a wide range of subjects including integrated soil fertility management and fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer production technology, agro-input dealerships, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics.


Training and Workshop Coordination Unit

P.O. Box 2040 Muscle Shoals, Alabama 35662, U.S.A.
Telephone: +1 (256) 381-6600
Telefax: +1 (256) 381-7408
As a nonprofit organization, IFDC does not finance or sponsor any participant.

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