Agric investment in the East African region is set to receive a turn around with the construction of a fertilizer plant in Kenya by Fertiplant East Africa Limited through a $10 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Over 65 per cent of East African people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and more than 80 percent of the region’s food comes from smallholder farmers with less than two hectares of land and limited access to expensive high-quality fertilizers.
Other challenges include mismatch between fertilizer and crop type and lack of knowledge on fertilizer use in general.
Fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa is in most cases as low as 10 per cent of recommended levels for sufficient crop yields and food production globally.
The new plant will produce 100, 000 tons of fertilizer annually and supply at affordable prices improving agricultural production and increasing incomes for farmers.
“We believe that profitable agriculture is the only way to sustain rural Africa and the Fertiplant factory through employing modern technology and advising on modern farming practices. It is our hope that by using our tailor made fertilizers and other modern practices like mechanization and seed development; farmers will boost their crop yields and close the gap between actual and attainable yields,” said Titus Gitau, Executive Director, Fertiplant.
The IFC investment which will be provided partly through the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program is expected to create hundreds of jobs during construction and operation.
Hans Peter Lankes, IFC Vice President for Development Economics termed the investment part of the organization’s strategy to promote development and competitiveness in the region’s agricultural sector.
The plant will be built in Nakuru County, Kenya.
Donor partners to the program are the governments of the U.K., the U.S., Australia, Japan, Canada and the Netherlands.