As government officials, corporate leaders, and international donors prepare to travel to Kigali, Rwanda for the first in-person African Green Revolution Forum in three years, they will be face-to-face not only with one another but with a fundamental challenge to their core mission.
Inorganic fertilisers, the hoped-for catalyst of a productivity revolution, have had supplies disrupted by the Russia-Ukraine war, and prices have doubled, tripled, or even more. This has made fertilisers less affordable for governments, many of which heavily subsidize their purchase, and for farmers, many of whom have become heavily dependent on the imported input.
In the short run, the fertiliser crisis exacerbates a food crisis already advanced by Covid-19, conflict, and climate change. The United Nations estimates that 346 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are suffering from severe food insecurity. The U.N. World Food Program estimates that fertiliser shortages will cause a 14 per cent drop in cereal production and could push 7 million more into food insecurity.