Fertilizers to support agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa: what is needed and why

B. A. Larson, George B Frisvold

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

39 Scopus citations


Substantial growth in inorganic fertilizer use is a prerequisite for sustained agricultural growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Increased fertilizer use can lead to modest but immediate and important increases in yields, while the profitability of other technologies will be stifled without adequate plant nutrients. Average fertilizer application rates in sub-Saharan Africa need to increase from 10 kg/ha to 50 kg/ha within 10 yr to prevent mining of soil nutrients. That implies an 18% annual growth rate. While over-use of fertilizers can create environmental problems, this is not a widespread problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Rather, near-term environmental concerns in agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa will stem from the lack of intensification. Farmer demand for fertilizers and the physical capacity to make fertilizers available are the two key issues that determine whether a 50-kg/ha goal will be attained. However, demand-side incentives cannot be separated from fertilizer supply possibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFood Policy
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Food Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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