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OFRA helps host AGRA delegation in Mozambique

UK professor of International Development, Sir Gordon Conway and two members of the AGRA board – Dr Maria Andrade and Dr Moise Mensah, were part of a delegation reviewing AGRA projects in Mozambique. The three were joined by a powerful delegation of AGRA staff and its partners – including OFRA’s own George Oduor.

The purpose of the visit, between 2-5 March 2015, was to familiarize AGRA’s leadership and strategic partners with AGRA’s investments in Mozambique, which comprise more than 50 grants worth US $25 m in various value chains; understand agriculture and related policy landscapes, discuss AGRA’s role in facilitating implementation of the Maputo and the Malabo declarations and engage directly with farmers and other agricultures stakeholders in Mozambique, to take stock of the work of the partners work in helping catalyze a sustainable green revolution in Africa.

The delegation visited the CABI-led Optimizing Fertilizer Recommendations in Africa (OFRA) program in Sussundenga which is run by Mozambique’s Institute of Agricultural Research (IIAM). OFRA is working to fine-tune fertilizer guidelines  for specific geographies to increase crop yields for food security without loosing site of the issue of farmer profitability.

The work of IIAM is to provide data on fertilizer responses to a series of priority crop, from which fertilizer optimizing guidelines can be developed.  In Mozambique there are about 26 field trials for the OFRA work program looking at fertilizer responses in cassava (1), maize (11), sorghum (5) and soybean (9).

George Oduor said “It was a great honour that the AGRA delegation came to see the field trials in progress in Mozambique. This gave us the opportunity to explain to our colleagues at AGRA what we are hoping to achieve through OFRA.

OFRA represents a major shift in thinking about fertilizer recommendations.  We will no longer be guiding farmers with blanket fertilizer recommendation that are out-dated, wasteful and not supporting the farmer to awards a sustainable financial model. OFRA will be offering guideline for fertilizer use that are based on rational models that encourage farmers to invest in the fertilizer blends or nutrients that maximise their profit. This should allow farmers to keep investing in farm inputs that improve their farms and their long-term prosperity and food security.

OFRA will develop apps, computer programs and paper based look up tables so that extension officers or agrodealers can guide farmers through a rational decision-making process on fertilizer investment which also informed by other farm practices we call integrated soil fertility management. ISFM seeks to promote a balanced approach to farming using improved seed, intercropping with legumes, the addition of organic matter along side the application of chemical fertilizers.”