Attainment of food security remains one of the biggest challenges facing sub Saharan Africa. The continent continues to experience low production as a result of the low and declining soil fertility and land degradation, which have been compounded by unfavorable climatic conditions. Since the 1960s, there have been effort to transform the agricultural sector through promotion of diverse approaches of soil nutrient management. Research has demonstrated the potential and importance of fertilizers to boost food production. Unfortunately, fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa is only about one tenth of the world average. There is significant scope for improving productivity through judicious use of fertilizers. The objective of this presentation is to contribute to the debate on the role of fertilizer in improving food production in sub Saharan Africa. The presentation will discuss the changes in paradigm in soil fertility management in Africa, the productivity of soils in the continent and the key soil fertility management technologies susceptible of reversing the low food productivity that characterizes smallholder farming systems in Africa. The presentation concludes by presenting new research opportunities for improving soil fertility and boosting food production through sound fertilizer management, and by calling for the need for transformation of the fertilizer sector.
Andre Bationo (speaker)
Chief of Party
Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement Program (SAPEP)
Andre Bationo holds a Ph.D. in soil chemistry and Fertility from Laval University, Canada. He previously served as Director – West Africa for AGRA. Before that, he was Coordinator of the African Network for Soil Biology and Fertility (AfNet) at CIAT’s Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute. He worked as Principal Soil Scientist seconded by IFDC to ICRISAT. Bationo’s research has focused on developing technologies that increase agricultural productivity while conserving natural resources. His research has contributed immensely to understanding soil fertility issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. Key themes addressed include nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics in Sahelian ecosystems, soil organic carbon dynamics, crop residue management, improving nutrient use efficiency and synergy between organic and inorganic plant nutrients, water management, use of rock phosphate, crop-livestock integration, and crop integration systems. Bationo has published 350 refereed journal articles, 10 books, and numerous book chapters. Awards include the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International prize for outstanding research in life sciences; Kwame Nkrumah continental award from African Head of States for outstanding achievements in science and technology; International Award from the International Fertilizer Association; Honorary Causa doctorate from the University of Uppsala, Sweden; and Highest Civilian Award from the Government of Niger for developing soil fertility restoration technologies.