Case Study

Visualizing Insights on Fertilizer for African Agriculture

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the lowest fertilizer usage in the world – insufficient to replace soil nutrients lost every year to crop production. To maintain agricultural productivity and sustain farmers, both government and the private sector in Africa need to better collect, analyze, and use relevant data to encourage fertilizer use. Through the VIFAA Program, we are working with partners on dashboards and tools to improve, manage, and visualize fertilizer data in Africa.

2017 - 2020 Agriculture

Sub-Saharan Africa’s population has grown by 11 million people a year for the past 60 years – for a total of about 670 million people. Mortality rates have declined, fertility rates have risen, but what does a shifting demographic dividend mean for food security?

This four-year program led by DG in partnership with Wallace & Associates, International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), and Results for Development, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, builds on the 2017 Fertilizer Dashboard Scoping Study.

“Vifaa” means “tool” in Swahili, but this program will go beyond delivering dashboards – it will also strengthen data supply and support improved policies and investments to increase fertilizer affordability, availability, and quality.

Background

In 2017, DG and our partners conducted a Scoping Study on Dashboard Development for Fertilizer Systems. Through this three-month study, we spoke with more than 100 agricultural stakeholders across Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania. The goal was to inform the development of a fertilizer dashboard for SSA, which would provide insight on sector performance for decision-makers. All stakeholders will increasingly require reliable, high-quality fertilizer data to inform their planning and strategy, but data use is currently limited by both insufficient supply and understanding of the needs and priorities of key decision-makers.

VIFAA Kenya Dashboard

Increasing the Use of Fertilizer Data

VIFAA was designed to holistically address the supply, demand, and use of fertilizer data at both country and regional levels. Currently, our country dashboards are focused in Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana. These countries were selected in close consultation with country and regional level stakeholders and for the high availability of fertilizer data.

Working closely with our partners, DG is co-designing tools that meet the needs of public and private sector stakeholders in our focus countries as well as in Africa regionally. DG is also working with Quantitative Engineering Design to close crucial gaps in fertilizer data supply.

In addressing the country context of fertilizer decision-making and in supporting strengthened data supply, VIFAA is co-designing dashboards to visualize fertilizer data with and for the fertilizer stakeholders in our focus countries.

In addition, VIFAA’s Data Innovation fund is making investments to increase the data supply that provides the intelligence needed to support decisions prioritized by key public and private sector stakeholders, which can improve country-level fertilizer use and performance on the AU Agriculture Transformation Scorecard indicator.

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Why a Fertilizer Dashboard for Kenya?

In developing the VIFAA Kenya Dashboard, we worked in partnership with Africafertilizer.org (AFO) and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) to understand the cycle of demand, supply, and use of Kenya’s fertilizer data. Grace Chilande of AFO and IDFC provides more information on why the dashboard is needed and how it will be used.

September 2, 2020 Agriculture