Togo: 17 African countries adopt a declaration on fertilizers to transform their agriculture

Seventeen countries in West Africa and the Sahel adopted the "Lomé Declaration on Fertilizers and Soil Health" on Wednesday 31 May. The text was approved in the presence of the presidents of Togo, Niger and Guinea-Bissau, as well as about twenty ministers. They met for two days in Lomé, with representatives of ECOWAS and the World Bank.

Fertilizer production and trade is a major challenge for West African countries that want to transform their agriculture (illustration) AP - Chinadu Asadu

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Leaders have been looking for solutions to make fertilizers more accessible and affordable, while the region - heavily dependent on imports - is sorely lacking in a context of food crisis. They therefore commit to tripling fertilizer consumption by 2035, doubling agricultural productivity.

High-level round table on fertilizers in West Africa, the work opened on 30 May in Lomé. + 250 participants including 22 ministers & key partners present for sustainable solutions to fertilizer and soil health. #NourrissonsLesSols


Fertilizer, "a strategic product without borders


In West Africa and the Sahel, fertilizer is now "a strategic product without borders", "free to move without hindrance". States commit to "phasing out tariffs and taxes on fertilizers." A measure that also concerns "other fertilizing raw materials". With regard to imports, customs and administrative formalities will be simplified, which will reduce costs.

Other immediate measures announced: more investment in port infrastructure, storage and transport. On this point, the 17 signatory States of the Lomé Declaration call for the conclusion of public-private partnerships before the end of 2025. The aim is to boost trade in fertilizers between states in the region.

"Our vision must be sub-regional above all"

The host of the meeting, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé called for the integration of a community vision to find the best solutions. "We need to find the right balance, a good strategy, but above all, we need to be organized and coordinated. As illustrated by today's roadmap, our vision must be sub-regional above all


Alain Sy Traoré, Director of Agriculture and Rural Development at ECOWAS, identifies the following points: "The first thing is mobilization, political commitment. States are ready to commit themselves to managing the issue. Second, to strengthen the institutional and operational capacities of actors in the region. Third, support and develop local fertilizer production, but also factories. »

Smallholder farmers

The text gives a large place to smallholder farmers. Several of them will receive grants or budget support for emergency mineral and organic fertilizers. West African and Sahel leaders pledge to consider soil health as a "critical pillar of food security".

They also believe that, once implemented, all these commitments will contribute to job creation. But in the meantime, the urgency is to meet the pressing needs for the rainfed and agricultural campaign that is beginning, recalls our correspondent in Lomé, Peter Sassou Dogbé.

For its part, the World Bank has announced an additional $1.5 billion in the agriculture sector by 2024. This is in addition to the €4 billion already committed and being implemented.

The Heads of State and Ministers of West Africa affirmed on 31.05.2023 their commitment to accelerate investments and reforms to make fertilizers more accessible and affordable during the high-level roundtable organized jointly by the...

— Togolese Presidency (@PresidenceTg) May 31, 2023

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  • Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Togo
  • Faure Gnassingbé