African countries fighting for their supply of

On Tuesday, 21 June, the European Union announced a new aid of EUR 600 million, mainly for Africa, to deal with the food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. Support for resolving the immediate crisis and preparing for the future, for example by promoting the availability of fertilizers, the weak link in African agriculture.

During this lean season, 43% of Africans are in a situation of unsafe food, they were only 23% in 2021. Because grain prices have exploded, because the two major world exporters of wheat and fertilizers, Russia and Ukraine, lack the world market, African countries have not imported in sufficient quantity, they have bought only half of their fertilizer needs, hence the low local harvests. As the war in Ukraine promises to be long, these two major suppliers are not ready to return to the market quickly.

We must therefore find alternatives, why not by prioritizing local supply? According to the Reuters agency, the first version of the text, which describes European aid, was explicitly a question of a program that was intended, among other things, to finance fertilizer plants in Africa. This reference has disappeared. Given that the production of artificial fertilizers is very energy-intensive, it consumes a lot of gas, the Committee considers that support for production in developing countries is incompatible with the 27’s energy and environmental policies.

Can African players in the fertilizer sector meet local needs? This applies to the main supplier Morocco. The world’s fourth largest fertilizer exporter is the leading supplier to African countries. The Office Chérifien des Phosphates supplies 60% of the needs in West Africa and is located in a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa. OCP has increased its production by 10% this year and hopes to be able to produce 70% more phosphate fertilizers within four years. A delegation was in Niger last week to discuss a future factory. The other source of livelihood, Nigeria, is less oriented towards its neighbors. But the product is there. Agribusiness magnate Aliko Dangoté opened the continent’s largest urea plant in the spring. Eventually, its production could more than meet the needs of Nigeria and its neighbors. Production has started and the order book is already full. The Nigerian billionaire says that European customers have already placed orders. He estimates that this factory could bring in $ 5 billion a year in export revenue to his country.

Nigeria benefits the most lucrative customers like Brazil or Europe because the margins are more generous. It is now easier and cheaper to export from Nigeria to Brazil than from Lagos to the north of the country. The boat trip only takes four or five days while road transport from southern to northern Nigeria takes up to ten days and is much more expensive than sea freight. Therefore, in order to ensure local supply to the continent, the entire logistics chain must be significantly improved. But also look at the structure of the market. Today, the number of intermediaries and the organization of tenders are detrimental to imports. Just one example, when a tender is open for 90 days, it repulses suppliers, because urea, the most consumed fertilizer, can see the price vary by a hundred dollars in a week, no d ‘between them can therefore not guarantee a price over three months. Reviewing these procedures would facilitate the calculation and make it easier to obtain the necessary quantities.

►In short, Israel will soon welcome Moroccan workers in the construction and healthcare sectors. They are expected next month in the Jewish state. An agreement was announced yesterday between the two countries, as part of the normalization of their diplomatic relations.

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