Wednesday, 28 May 2008

African Development Bank creates fertilizer subsidy facility

The annual meeting of the governors of the African Development Bank (ADB), held in Maputo on May 14 and 15, approved the creation of an African Fertiliser Facility, that will make fertilizer available to African farmers at affordable prices.

The decision was not unanimous. The chairperson of the ADB Board of Governors, Mozambique's Planning and Development Minister Aiuba Cuereneia, told reporters that the United States was opposed to the fertilizer facility, "but the Board of Directors voted for it."
"We are now seeing international organisations talking about subsidizing agriculture", said Cuereneia. "This used to be taboo, but now it is being accepted. You can't manage agriculture commercially without subsidies."

At a closing press conference, the ADB President, Donald Kaberuka, noted that African agriculture used to suffer from low producer prices, and farmers had little incentive to produce. Now, with the sharp rise in grain prices internationally, there were incentives - but fertilizer prices had also soared.