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Project to boost ag in Africa

Project to boost ag in Africa

The 4R Champion program helps farmers improve nutrient management practices

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A Canadian organization wants to help farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa increase yields through the application of 4R nutrient management practices.
 
Fertilizer Canada launched the 4R Champion program in June. The program is an extension of the organization’s 4R Solution project, a five-year effort launched in April 2019. Program organizers aim to help 80,000 farmers in Ethiopia, Ghana and Senegal improve their nutrient management practices. Half of these farmers are women. 
 
The 4R Champion program staff will help distribute funding to farmers in the region who are interested in nutrient management, said Clyde Graham. He’s the executive vice president of Fertilizer Canada.
 
“We want to finance microprojects that should advance the knowledge and understanding of 4R nutrient stewardship in Africa,” he told Farms.com. The program “is open to (farmers in) all countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and our grants are offered at levels of $500 and $1,000.”
 
Global Affairs Canada supplies the funding.
 
To participate in the program, candidates must complete an online 4R Essentials course. If their projects are approved, participants will submit reports and video explanations of their results to Fertilizer Canada.
 
Hopefully, through the program, African farmers can apply their 4R findings and increase food production, Graham said.
 
“There is a significant knowledge gap in terms of fertilizer use and application. As a result, Sub-Saharan Africa’s crop yields are not what they could be,” he said. “A significant opportunity exists to increase incomes for smallholder farmers if they get higher yields.”
 
Economic benefits at the farm level could contribute to economic and social development advantages for the countries more broadly, Graham said.
 
Anyone interested in learning more about the 4R Champion program can contact Labonya Nirjan at lnirjan@fertilizercanada.ca.
 

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