TRYNESS MBALE, Lusaka
SMALL-SCALE farmers in east and southern Africa will benefit from increased fertiliser supply in the region.
The East and Southern Africa Fertiliser trade platform (ESAF) is expected to hold its first annual meeting from September 24 to 25 in Lusaka and will be officially opened by Vice-President Inonge Wina.
ESAFâ€™s objective is to boost the commercial supply of fertiliser in the region.
According to a statement released by Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) and Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) public relations assistant Veronica Mwamba on Thursday, about 200 delegates are expected to attend the meeting.
Those invited include private fertiliser companies from Africa and overseas, financial institutions and policy and decision-makers who are driving the regional fertiliser agenda.
The meeting will, among other things, also support COMESAâ€™s fertiliser programme, which seeks to take the procurement and distribution of the commodity through the creation, growth and strengthening of about 500 agribusiness companies in the region.
â€œMillions of small-holder farmers in East and Southern Africa are set to have better access to fertiliser through the scaling up of fertiliser supply in the region,â€ the statement reads.
It says the meeting will be jointly organised by African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP), ACTESA and COMESA as well as feature exhibitions by renowned fertiliser and agribusiness companies such as OCP Products, Greenbelt, Bagtech, Kynoch, Yargus and Export Trading Group.
â€œThis meeting provides a great opportunity for catalysing the growth of fertiliser markets in east and southern Africa, including the strengthening of the small and medium-scale entrepreneurs in the fertiliser value chain,â€ ACTESA chief executive officer Argent Chuula said.
ESAF chairperson Adam Mostert also said the meeting is a crucial time for the private sector to recognise the opportunities that are available to them and the enhanced contribution they can make towards the productivity and profitability of agriculture through the development of the fertiliser sector.
AFAP regional director for east and southern Africa Maria Wanzala said the meeting is ideal for informative and interactive sessions among fertiliser industry players that should lead to better understanding of the investment opportunities and implications associated with doing business in the region.
TRYNESS MBALE, Lusaka