Rwanda has laid out plans to set up a bulk blending fertiliser and storage plant in Bugesera Industrial Park to among others produce, market and distribute fertilisers. The development follows a joint venture partnership reached between Rwanda Fertiliser Company Ltd (RFC) and OCP Africa (OCP), a subsidiary of the Moroccan public-private company OCP Group, one of the leading phosphates producers in Africa. The move is expected to switch from generic to tailor-made fertilisers as part of the efforts to reduce the cost of fertilisers, as well as boosting agricultural output and farmers’ income. Fertilizer uptake is still ‘very’ low in Rwanda considering the needed quantity per hectare to increase productivity. Government seeks to increase fertilisers use to 75 Kilogrammes per hectare up from the current 46 kilogrammes. But Charles Bucagu, Deputy Director General of Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), believes that setting up a local fertiliser plant is strategic. More particularly, he added, the initiative will have significant contributions in meeting the country’s continuous growing demand for fertilizers, (primarily urea and NPK+) “It is also going to solve the issue of accessibility. In most cases our farmers delay starting the season because they lack fertilisers.” According to Bucagu, Rwanda has made significant improvements in agriculture production mainly because of the hybrid seed and also fertiliser application. “In addition to that, it would contribute to our food security but also expand the export base.” The initiative comes at a time when, globally, prices of ferilisers are skyrocketing. “Rwanda doesn’t directly get the fertilizers from the source, this puts us in a less competitive position.” Bucagu shared similar sentiments with Evariste Safari, the Head of Rwanda Agriculture Inputs Dealers Association (RAIDA). “There is a logistica challenge, and affordability which I think would be solved in one way or the other.” Safari maintained that Rwanda has been importing fertilizer products to meet her growing land under cultivation. However, prices of the commodity had increased because of the transport logistics. “For the farmers, there is a big challenge of affordability,” Safari added. It is not clear how much the project will cost, but sources familiar with the agreement told The New Times that an initial Rwf2 billion was slated for the first phase. “The issue remains to strategically subsidize or find financial mechanisms for affordability of the farmers,” said Bucagu, adding, “Incentives will be needed.” Data from the Ministry of Agriculture shows that the use of fertilizers in the season A 2021 increased from 29,917 tonnes to 43, 757 tonnes, a 46 per cent increase compared to the same previous period last year. The uptake of fertilisers is expected to grow to 51 kilogrammes per hectare in 2020/21, 60 kilogrammes in 2021/22, 65 kilogrammes in 2022/23 and 75 kilogrammes in 2024.