African Development Bank sends emergency fertilizer to W Africa


A source told Reuters that the emergency volumes will come from Nigeria and Morocco.

The African Development Bank plans to buy about 500,000 tons of fertilizer for West Africa by the end of August as a stopgap measure to avert a food crisis, a source with direct knowledge of the matter has told Reuters news agency.

The move is part of the bank’s announced $1.5 billion allocation to support the continent’s food production and help with fertilizers following the disruptions caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine, Reuters reported Friday.

Akinwumi Adesina, the president, told Al Jazeera in April that the price of urea, a cheap fertilizer, has risen by 300 percent. “To be [the war] boosting inflation in Africa, and – if not properly managed soon – could create a food crisis in Africa,” he said.

The bank said there was a fertilizer shortage of two million tons across the continent. It has met with chief executives of leading fertilizer companies in Africa and abroad to discuss fertilizer affordability, without confirming the volume requested.

“We are also talking to partners and farmers,” the bank said in a statement to Reuters, adding that a country must ask to participate. “The need for fertilizer at the moment is twofold: half the fertilizer in May and June for some planting seasons, depending on the location on the continent. The second half, called a top dressing, is needed a month or two months later.”

Sources from Nigeria and Morocco

The source said it was agreed at a meeting in mid-May that the emergency volume could come from Nigeria, which supplies 300,000 tons of urea, and Morocco, which supplies 200,000 tons of phosphates and mixed manure.

Morocco’s OCP and Nigeria’s Indorama attended the meeting but did not respond to requests for comment. Nigerian fertilizer producer Dangote confirmed the presence of their CEO but did not disclose details of the emergency volume.

Given the short time frame to organize funding and logistics, the source said the countries that need it most — Ghana, Mali and Burkina Faso — may not be getting enough fertilizer in time.

Nigeria faced a potential shortage of potash earlier this year after financial sanctions against Russia confused banks and Uralkali was unable to deliver the fertilizer ingredient on time. Nigeria eventually found alternative Canadian supplies and Russia will supply some more supplies as well.

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