OCP’s new facilities will cost approximately $5.2 billion.
By Katya Schwenk
OCP, Morocco’s leading exporter in phosphate and fertilizers, also plans to build fertilizer-blending facilities in Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire, and Ghana. Each facility will cost between $8 and $12 million.
The announcement comes as part of OCP Group’s push to expand its reach in sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of last year, the company released plans to triple its fertilizer production outside of Morocco, and in January, announced it would build two new fertilizer plants in Nigeria.
OCP already maintains 75 percent of the world’s phosphate reserves and holds nearly 50 percent of the world market share of the chemical.
OCP’s Africa Fertilizer Complex in Jorf Lasfar, 120 kilometers south of Casablanca, produces almost a million tons of fertilizer annually for Africa. But Karim Lotfi Senhaji, chief executive of OCP Africa, told Reuters that OCP hopes to bring production closer to consumers with these new facilities.
“We don’t aim to produce everything in Morocco,” he said.
The group’s planned facility in Nigeria will produce ammonia, with an expected capacity of 1 million tons. The facility in Ethiopia will have a capacity of 2.5 million tons of fertilizer. The group expects the plants will be operational by 2023 or 2024.
OCP also announced yesterday it would sponsor an academic partnership between Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Rabat and two agricultural research institutions in the United Kingdom, Rothamsted Research and Cranfield University. The partnership will aid OCP’s research on fertilizers in Africa.
The program will establish a Centre for Doctoral Training in Morocco and support early career researchers in agriculture.
Hicham El Habti, secretary general of Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, expressed his support for OCP’s research program on customizable fertilizers.
“This vital partnership will support the acceleration of this strategy to help African farmers become not only more productive, but also more prosperous,” El Habti said at the signature ceremony Monday.
Phosphates continue to be Morocco’s strongest export, seeing an average annual growth rate of 7.8 percent since 2014. Natural and chemical fertilizers make up the greatest share of this growth, rising from MAD 17.3 billion in 2014 to MAD 29.8 billion last year.