In every region of the world, the intensification of crop-based agriculture has been associated with a sharp increase in the use of chemical fertilizer. Given the generally low levels of fertilizer use in Africa, there can be little doubt that fertilizer use must increase in Africa if the region is to meet its agricultural growth targets, poverty reduction goals, and environmental sustainability objectives. For this reason, policies and programs are needed to encourage fertilizer use in ways that are technically efficient, economically rational, and market-friendly. Including this introduction, this report contains eight chapters. Chapter 2 sets the stage by discussing agriculture's role in the overall economic development process and explaining why agricultural development often leads to patterns of growth that are strongly pro-poor. Chapter 3 briefly recounts the history of fertilizer promotion efforts in Africa. Chapter 4 outlines the reasons for low fertilizer use in Africa. Chapter 5 examines factors that influence fertilizer demand and identifies entry points at which public interventions can strengthen effective demand at the farm level. Chapter 6 examines the factors that determine the supply of fertilizer and identifies entry points for public interventions to improve fertilizer supply. Chapter 7 identifies potential entry points at which public investments may be effective for fostering desirable change in a country's fertilizer sector. Chapter 8 summarizes the main points made in the report and concludes the discussion.
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