Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The potential of organic and biofertilizers for soil health management in Africa

16 April 2024. InfoPoint Hybrid Conference: The potential of organic and biofertilizers for soil health management in Africa

Recording available in above link

Several studies have indicated that soil organic matter content and nutrients balance can be improved at farm level through proper agronomic practices in mixed farming systems. However, fertilizers are still needed to improve productivity. Off-farm production of safe and affordable organic fertilizers and biofertilizers could provide another pathway for soil health and productivity improvement in Africa. 

However, a lack of information and knowledge exists regarding the production, marketing, and utilization of commercial organic and biofertilizers. In fact, many relevant initiatives exist involving various actors such as Farmers' Organizations, NGOs, and SMEs.

With a view to inform policy dialogue addressing the fertilizer crisis and food security challenges, DG INTPA, through DeSIRA-LIFT, commissioned a scoping study on the off-farm production and marketing of organic and biofertilizers in 12 case-study countries in Africa

In this conference the results of the scoping study was shared and two SMEs shared their experiences regarding the potential of commercial organic and biofertilizer production and marketing.
  • Carla Montesi, Director INTPA F- Green Deal, Digital Agenda
  • Bernhard Freyer, Pierre Ellssel and Fortunate Nyakanda, Scoping Study results
  • Representative from Zim Earth Farms, African producer (Zimbabwe)
  • Representative from Safisana, African producer (Ghana)


Bernhard Freyer, Pierre Ellssel, Fortunate Nyakanda & Stéphanie Saussure (2024) Exploring theoff-farm production,marketing anduse of organicand biofertilisersin AfricaA scoping study | March 2024 #253 p

KNOWLEDGE BRIEF - Exploring the off-farm production, marketing and use of organic and biofertilisers in Africa #17 p

The study address the use and acceptance of organic and biofertilizers, the potential development of these inputs, the marketing systems, the support services (research and advisory services), the national policies and regulatory framework .

See an overview of the main recommendations.
  1. Organic and biofertilisers (OFBF) demonstrate strong potential in addressing soil fertility, enhancing crop yields and contributing to the nutrient cycle in Africa.
  2. To unlock Africa’s potential for soil health and agricultural productivity, a holistic approach is crucial.
  3. Support to local and national initiatives on OFBF must be scaled.
  4. Recycling organic wastes can potentially cover 20-40% of an agricultural system’s nutrient requirements.
  5. Positive socio-economic impacts from organic fertiliser use can be realised through centralised or decentralised collection, processing and distribution systems tailored to raw material characteristics and volumes from waste streams, local circumstances and current organic fertiliser dynamics in each country.
  6. Waste-based organic fertiliser production and use can yield various positive environmental impacts.
  7. To overcome cultural and traditional barriers to the adoption of OFBF, initiatives of education and advisory services play a vital role.
  8. Biofertilisers, or biostimulants, cover various products with distinct traits. Additional research is required for a comprehensive understanding and strengthening of biofertilizer impact and use at scale.
  9. Research on OFBF and soil amendments, including biochar and liming, is highly recommended to establish an evidence base on product efficacy.
  10. Waste management regulations exist in almost all of the case study countries. However, the subsequent application and enforcement of these regulations is lacking.

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