Yara International, a strategic partner of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,is launching Action Africa: Thriving Farms, Thriving Future – an initiative with the goal of mobilizing support for 250,000 smallholder farmers in seven African countries to secure food production and improved food security. The initiative includes advocacy and partnerships, farmer connectivity and digital solutions, and operational support including 40,000 metric tons of high-quality fertilizers with zinc for improved nutrition. Yara’s fertilizer contribution, combined with agronomic support, is expected to triple maize production and feed more than one million people across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique for one year.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the donor for the PROMAC II Project in Mozambique. In Mozambique, Yara International will support farmers to increase their productivity and the nutrition content of their produce by providing them with approximately 1,000 tons of premium quality fertilizer coupled with smallholder appropriate agronomic advice. Yara is donating 300 MT of fertilizer to PROMAC II under this initiative. This fertilizer will reach farmers via PROMAC II’s inputs Green Discount program – an input subsidy initiative involving PROMAC II supported last mile inputs retailers which ensures that farmers are able to access complete input packages (including locally multiplied certified seed) via sustainable and commercial last mile distribution channels.
The COVID-19 pandemic linked to a global recession already poses great challenges to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is important to act now to prevent a future food security crisis and protect production and food supply chains before the joint challenges of the pandemic and global economic downturn take further effect. The food security impact of this pandemic, particularly in East Africa which has already suffered from Fall armyworm and the locust infestation, is likely to be devastating and, – according to the United Nations, the number of people facing severe food insecurity worldwide could double to 265 million. Farmers in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia will soon begin planting, an activity which requires a reliable and timely source of quality inputs together with sound agronomic advice. Millions of people will depend on the products those farmers will be able to produce. If action is taken now, there is a window of opportunity to support these farmers to maximise their yield potential – thus avoiding a hard hit to the upcoming agricultural season causing even more and longer-term negative consequences.
Yara International has dedicated significant resources in infrastructure investment and crop nutrition operations over the last decade in several countries in East Africa. They have a unique network of relevant partners playing strategic roles in supporting agricultural supply chains. This is a unique position that can and should be leveraged during a period of potential crisis, when local food production capacity will be absolutely critical.