LONDON, Nov. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Cape Town has been announced as the location for the 8th annual Argus FMB Africa Fertilizer conference, taking place on 15 - 17 February 2017, bringing the biggest conference of its kind to southern Africa for the first time. The conference is organised by leading commodity price reporting, consulting and events company Argus. Two major industry initiatives will be launched at the conference — the African Fertilizer Access Index (TAFAI) being developed by the Africa Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and the annual report on fertilizer consumption in Africa prepared by the International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA). TAFAI measures the status of the enabling environment for fertilizer in particular national markets, the impact on the performance of these markets, and the desired outcomes in terms of accessibility, availability and incentives to use fertilizers by smallholder farmers in Africa. It does this by scoring and weighing the following six composite indicators — research and development, fertilizer quality, industry competitiveness, market access, services to smallholder farmers, fertilizer policy, and regulations and institutional support. Through the use of TAFAI, countries can establish their baselines and monitor their progress. The conference agenda features over 30 speakers who will seek ways to increase African farmers' access to fertilizer and consequently to boost agricultural yields across the continent. "We have been running this conference for many years," Argus Media executive chairman and publisher Adrian Binks said, "but in the last 12 months we have seen a big surge in interest, in line with a renewal of political will to bring transformative changes to African agriculture. Cape Town is proving to be a very popular location and we are expecting our biggest ever attendance." The lead sponsor of the conference, fertilizer producer OCP Africa, has recently announced a string of new investments, establishing a presence in a number of new locations across Africa. OCP Africa chief executive, Tarik Choho will give a keynote speech at the conference, which will be opened by the chief executive of African Union development agency NEPAD, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki. The conference is supported by IFA, AFAP, IFDC, AfricaFertilizer.Org, FERTASA and One Acre Fund, which are all actively involved in promoting fertilizer use in southern Africa. The agenda will focus on improving access to and increasing consumption of fertilizers and building meaningful supply chain partnerships in Africa. Delegates will hear from speakers from the private and public sectors discussing how to create enabling environments for fertilizer supply and distribution, improve access to finance and develop infrastructure that in turn will broaden intra- Africa trade, increase fertilizer consumption across the continent, and ultimately boost agricultural productivity. More than 500 delegates are expected at the conference, making it the biggest event focused on the fertilizer market in Africa. "Argus FMB Africa Fertilizer has become known as the event that brings together the most important players in the global fertilizer trade with all the links in the African supply chain," Argus global head of fertilizer conferences David Monaghan said. "We draw delegates from 55 countries, of which 20 are African, and this number is increasing every year, as we build on our commitment to increase access to the conference for the small to medium enterprises which are crucial in delivering appropriate and effective fertilizers to African farmers." Argus FMB conferences have provided opportunities to address issues of policy and regulation and uncover emerging trends in the fertilizer markets for over 30 years. They also provide a platform to meet and do business with leading global producers, traders and distributors.