Africa Day: OCP Africa Celebrates African Farmers, Sustainable Agriculture
OCP Africa has in recent years launched many projects to drive its modernization of African agriculture and its empowerment of small-scale farmers.
Rabat – OCP Group, the world’s largest phosphate mining and a leading fertilizer company, is joining today’s celebration of Africa Day by paying tribute to Africa’s small-scale farmers and pledging to further its efforts in the development of sustainable agriculture in Africa.
In a press statement, the Moroccan company reiterated its determination to accompany African farmers in the challenge of making the continent’s agriculture more productive and competitive. For OCP, a large part of winning the dire-looking food security battle is to reclaim – and support – the “transition from subsistence farming to value-creating agriculture.”
Together with its proven record as a global leader in sustainable practices and its growing continental presence, OCP Africa seeks to promote experience-sharing across the continent to strengthen intra-African cooperation in the agriculture sector, argued the statement.
Driving the implementation of OCP Group’s African ambitions is OCP Africa, a subsidiary the Moroccan company launched in 2016 to play a front-seat role in the continent’s fight for food security.
“For the past 5 years, OCP Africa has been implementing a wide range of projects and programs to benefit African farmers by contributing to the development of integrated agricultural ecosystems,” said the company’s press statement. “OCP Africa develops programs designed to be even closer to the farmers by developing its understanding farmers’ needs to better respond to them and being at the heart at the heart of a synergy combining advice, support and agricultural ‘best practices.’”
Now operational in 16 African countries and looking to further its continental outreach, OCP Africa is increasingly focusing on innovative agriculture by introducing new technologies to the agricultural strategies of countries where it has subsidiaries. This includes digitizing some phases of the agricultural process and training small-scale farmers to make the most of the inexorable digitization of the global food market.
More than one million African farmers have benefited from OCP Africa’s programs so far. The company thrives through partnerships with African governments and other important stakeholders in the continental agriculture market, as well as “the implementation of innovative solutions to meet Africa’s needs for a sustainable transformation of its agriculture.”
As its continental outreach grows, the OCP Group believes it has established itself as an essential actor and promoter of continental development.
On a more technical front, OCP Africa has invested in research that has culminated in the deployment of “fertility maps, soil analyses and the development of new customised formulas, adapted to the needs of soils and crops” to modernize African agriculture, noted the statement.
To translate its commitment to “sustainable agricultural development, integrated soil fertility management and [tackle] climate change,” OCP Africa has in recent years launched four main projects to drive its modernization of African agriculture and its empowerment of small-scale farmers.
First is the “OCP School Labs.” Consisting of “a mobile school, mobile laboratories and a digital device,” the scheme is led by teams of agricultural engineers and is aimed at helping farmers benefit from “multi-year support and technological solutions to stay connected or in direct contact with their agricultural advisors.”
The initiative offers interactive training sessions based on easy-to-digest and practical educational materials to “raise awareness of good agricultural practices among local farmers.” To date, more than 420,000 farmers have benefited from this program in 9 African countries.
Second is the “Agribooster” program, which OCP Africa describes as “an inclusive development model aimed at providing farmers with the best conditions to increase their yields and develop their productivity.” The program operates by helping local, small-scale African farmers have access to “a complete package of products and services while strengthening links with the market.”
It also provides farmers with quality products and services, notably through the supply of inputs (fertilizers, phytosanitary products, hybrid seeds), training sessions on best practices in rational fertilization, as well as access to potential buyers on the market financial services (especially credit loans).
Since its inception, the program has reached 630,000 farmers in 4 countries across Africa, where it has also helped farmers increase their yields by 30%.
Third is the “farmer’s house” project. According to OCP, this is a “comprehensive distribution solution that addresses the challenges of availability and accessibility of agricultural inputs.”
The statement added, “Each farmer house is equipped with a classroom, storage room, office space, well, tricycles, digital soil analysis laboratory, greenhouse, smart mixer, etc.” 51 farmer houses have so far been installed in 18 states in Nigeria, reaching over 29,000 local smallholder farmers.
Fourth is the “Agripromoters” project. The scheme derives its name from the people driving its implementation – Agripomoters. These are OCP Africa partners who deploy their expertise in modern agriculture in the seminars and practical training sessions they teach to “Farmer Houses.”
“To reach small-scale rural farmers in their communities, each Agripromoter is equipped with a tricycle and a tablet,” said the OCP statement, noting that this initiative has reached approximately 7,000 smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
While developing high-quality and soil-adapted fertilizers is OCP Africa’s primary activity, the company’s commitment goes far beyond enhanced agricultural productivity.
OCP’s professed determination to contribute to the realization of a green revolution in Africa has caught the eye of many global observers in recent years. In 2019, the International Fertilizer Association (IFA) granted OCP its Gold Medal for a second time in a row. IFA’s award recognized OCP Group as a global leader in sustainable development by highlighting the company’s efforts to support sustainable and innovative agriculture.