On the sidelines of the African Development  Bank Annual  Meetings in Busan, Korea, the  Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) donors and the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness  Partnership (AFAP) have signed a grant agreement in support  of local supply and utilization of fertilizer by smallholder  farmers in Africa.

This FAPA grant of US $1 million will help increase  affordability, accessibility and incentives for fertilizer  use among smallholder farmers in Africa and expand the  supply and distribution of fertilizer by leveraging  investments.

It is also intended to create over 1,000 jobs  for women and youth. AFAP, the grantee, will match the FAPA grant.

The agreement was signed Wednesday by Jennifer Blanke, the  African Development Bank’s Vice-President for Agriculture,  Human and Social Development, and Jason Scarpone, CEO of the  African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership.

“This project is very much in line with the Feed Africa  strategy of the African Development Bank.  It will  promote  greater local supply of fertilizer to farmers  thereby increasing productivity, which is central to the  transformation of value chains,” Blanke said.

This initiative complements the Bank’s strategy for  transforming agriculture value chains in Regional Member  Countries and strengthening private enterprises.

It also  helps improve access to finance for blending companies and  joint ventures in the agriculture sector. It will enhance  distribution through agriculture input systems with  agro-dealer networks in the targeted countries: Côte  d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique and Tanzania.

“Agriculture is one of the five priority areas of the  Bank.  In Sub-Saharan Africa, 60% of the population  lives in rural areas, while the proportion of agriculture in  GDP is less than 20%,” said Soichiro Imaeda, Parliamentary  Vice Minister for Finance in Japan, one of donors to  FAPA.

“Improving agricultural productivity is an urgent issue in  achieving sustainable economic growth in Africa. We hope  that this project will be effectively utilized and that  farmers’ access to fertilizer will expand and agricultural  productivity will increase in the five target African  countries including Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mozambique,  Nigeria and Tanzania.”

“Today’s grant agreement is not just about improving the  productivity of smallholder farmers in Africa; it also  encourages  local supply and utilization of fertilizer  in Africa. We’ll continue, through FAPA, to support  agriculture finance projects in Africa,” Olivier Eweck,  Director of the Syndication, Co-financing and Technical  Solutions Department at the Bank, and Chair of the FAPA Technical Committee, said Wednesday.