Challenging ‘green’ wisdom: Why Africa desperately needs more, not less, access to synthetic fertilizers
The European Commission has opposed a plan to support expanding fertilizer production in Africa because it would clash with the European Union’s climate goals. (Fertilizer production and use account for about 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.)
But as EU countries expand domestic and overseas fossil fuel infrastructure to reduce reliance on Russian energy, it is hypocritical to limit the agricultural potential of other countries to meet green goals.
Restricting aid to African countries for fertilizer production because it conflicts with climate goals, while also demanding natural gas from the continent, is absurd and unfair.
Supporting these countries through a crisis requires increased financing for fertilizer production, getting back to the bread-and-butter business of development: large-scale resource and industrial development.
Africa has untapped potential in both energy and agriculture, but without increasing fertilizer production, its food output will continue to lag behind other regions.
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Scaling up fertilizer production is a key step in strengthening regional input and agricultural value chains so that African countries can become more food-secure.
In the long term, investing in production facilities, local and regional suppliers, and natural gas infrastructure would reduce dependence on imported fertilizers from Russia, China, and elsewhere—making the continent more resilient to a crisis like the one it now faces.