Advancement and practical applications of rhizobacterial biofertilizers for sustainable crop production in sub-Saharan Africa
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Agricultural intensification continues in Africa in attempts to meet the rising food demands of the equally rising population. However, most arable lands in the region are characterized by nutrient deficiency and over-reliance on synthetic fertilizers which consequently contributes to increased production costs, environmental pollution, and global warming. Decades of research on plant–rhizobacterial interactions have led to the formulation and commer- cialization of rhizobacterial biofertilizers globally for sustainable soil and crop health. Nevertheless, this promising technology has not received much attention in Africa and remains largely unexplored due to several constraints. This article discusses the practical applications of rhizobacterial biofertilizers for sustainable crop production in sub-Saha- ran Africa. The challenges of soil infertility and the use of conventional synthetic fertilizers in crop production in Africa are critically evaluated. An overview of the potential of rhizobacteria as biofertilizers and alternatives to synthetic fertilizers for soil fertility and crop productivity in the continent is also provided. The advantages that these biofertiliz- ers present over their synthetic counterparts and the status of their commercialization in the African region are also assessed. Finally, the constraints facing their formulation, commercialization, and utilization and the prospects of this promising technology in the region are deliberated upon. Such knowledge is valuable towards the full exploitation and adoption of this technology for sustainable agriculture for Africa’s food security.