With 55 percent of the world's remaining untapped arable land, agriculture is one of Africa's brightest hopes for economic development.
The Millennium Villages Project embodies the most complete and thoughtful approach to achieving positive outcomes by tackling many underlying socio-economic issues simultaneously. Each year, Mosaic donates 2,600 tonnes of fertilizer to Millennium Promise and the Millennium Villages, along with arranging the associated transportation, bagging and blending. This amounts to 105,600 bags of fertilizer,
impacting the lives of more than 250,000 people. The average value of this donation is more than $2 million per year.
Africa is a net importer of food today and will experience the greatest population increase of any continent over the next four decades. Many of sub-Saharan Africa's soils are depleted of nutrients, and we saw an opportunity to use our expertise to identify the most effective, nutritionally-balanced blends to maximize crop yields in the region.
Our crop nutrients are vital for farmers to reach their full potential. Across village clusters in Mali, Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia, maize yields have tripled on average, resulting in a 35 percent decrease in malnutrition for children under age two in those locations.
Farmers pay between 40 and 60 percent of cost with the loan and subsidy programs, supported by the World Bank, provided at planting and repaid at harvest. Millennium
Promise has also developed communal warehousing to reduce post-harvest losses and improve access to markets so that the farmers may realize a better return on investment.
Yields in some fields have increased by more than 10 times farmer practices. To understand the paradigm better and to determine why these smallholders have
had such success, agronomists at Mosaic and the Earth Institute at Columbia University have executed test plots
in three African climatic zones to pinpoint the most effective nutrient blends to maximize crop yields.
Transporting a product as bulky and heavy as fertilizer to remote villages in Africa is one of the most challenging aspects of the partnership. The lack of established trade routes, a reliable local agri-dealer network or basic infrastructure, such as deep water ports, paved roads or rails, requires the close attention of Mosaic's commercial group through the entire shipping process.
Mosaic is committed to the continued success of the Projects, and we continually seek opportunities to deepen and expand our involvement. We believe the Millennium Villages will provide a blueprint for success to ensure food security for Africa's smallholders.