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Articles by Rupa Shenoy, The World

Rupa Shenoy is a reporter for The World, a co-production of PRX, WGBH, and the BBC.

Featured Article

Okyeame Ampadu, an 80-year-old farmer in the Volta Region of Ghana, keeps one last bag of fertilizer in a dark shed. He hasn't gotten a new supply from the government for two years.

This story was published in partnership with the Center for Public Integrity and The World.

For decades, fertilizer was too expensive for African farmers. It had to be imported, and transportation into the continent was expensive.

Now, though, Africa is turning a corner toward producing more of it locally. A Moroccan company has signed a nearly $4 billion deal to build a fertilizer plant in Ethiopia. A Danish company is helping the Democratic Republic of Congo build a $2.5 billion fertilizer plant. The African Development Bank Group helped fund a new fertilizer plant in Nigeria that’s already boosting farmers’ yields.

And this August in Ghana, the vice president stood proudly before the largest fertilizer plant ever built in the country. Mahamudu Bawumia said the factory was the solution Ghana’s farmers had been demanding.

“This factory can meet all of Ghana’s demand for fertilizer,” he told a crowd that clapped enthusiastically.

African countries have some of the lowest rates of fertilizer use in the world, but efforts to change this come with some serious dilemmas. Some nutrients farmers add to the soil both nourish crops and contribute to t... Read more