OCP Africa is adding to recent efforts to advance food security in West African countries.
Rabat – Morocco’s phosphate giant OCP and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have teamed up to improve agriculture in West Africa.
OCP Africa and AfDB agreed to allocate a trade credit guarantee of $4 million to Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana to advance access to agricultural fertilizers.
As part of the African Fertilizer Development Finance Mechanism (MAFDE), the agreement aims to lower potential risks to the agricultural chain of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana and facilitate their access to “quality” fertilizers, according to AfDB.
OCP Africa and AfDB will contribute $2 million each to the West Africa agriculture initiative.
Over the next three years, 430,000 smallholder farmers, including 104,000 women, are set to benefit from “quality agricultural inputs at affordable prices.” The project will also provide training about the best practices in the field of agriculture.
The project aims to boost agricultural productivity and achieve a 35% growth in rice and corn production in Ghana, and a 30% increase in Cote d’Ivoire’s rice yields.
Commenting on the agreement, OCP Africa’s Senior Vice President for West Africa Lahcen Ennahli said he believes that the project will inspire other private sector and development partners to enter into similar risk-sharing agreements.
Ennahili hopes the project will have a direct positive impact on farmers amid the COVID-19 crisis, “which poses a serious threat to their prosperity as well as to food security, inputs and agricultural know-how.”
For Martin Fregene, the director in charge of Agriculture and Agribusiness at AfDB, the project will improve smallholders’ access to modern agricultural inputs and promote farming as a profitable business in Africa.
OCP’s recent efforts in West Africa
OCP Africa recently stepped up efforts to advance food security in Cote d’Ivoire as well as Senegal by partnering with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to support the production of rice and millet.
The partnership targets the improvement of the living conditions of small-scale farmers by enhancing their agricultural services, given the lack of training and unsustainable agricultural practices.
The OCP Africa-IFC partnership followed the Moroccan group’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Rice Promotion of Cote d’Ivoire in September to revive the production of rice in the West African country.
The MoU intends to boost the implementation of the rice strategy in Cote d’Ivoire and to make the country one of the largest African rice exporters by 2030.
Along with Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana is one of several countries in West Africa to benefit from OCP’s expertise in agriculture.
In December 2019, Ghana’s Ministry of Agriculture launched a soil fertility project in coordination with OCP to address the challenges of food security and cultivated land preservation.
The agreement aims to provide Ghana’s farmers with the necessary tools and know-how of farming.
OCP plays a major role in ensuring food safety in Africa. The group has developed agricultural partnerships with several African nations, including Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Benin, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Rwanda.