Moroccan CEO, Mostafa Terrab, becomes first African chairman of global fertilizer industry association

Mostafa Terrab, Chairman and Chief Executive of OCP, to address environmental stewardship and “under-use” of fertilizers in Africa during his two-year tenure at the International Fertilizer Association (IFA).

The CEO of one of the world’s leading fertilizer exporters, Dr Mostafa Terrab, has become the first African to be elected chairman of the global body representing the fertilizer industry.

Terrab, of the Morocco-based OCP Group, succeeds Rakesh Kapur as chair of the International Fertilizer Association (IFA).

As announced at the IFA 2019 annual conference held in Montreal, one of Mr Terrab’s priorities for his chairmanship will be to focus on innovation and address the still unacceptably low levels of fertilizer use in Africa.

Soil fertility across much of Africa is low. Over 40% of African soils face nutrient depletion, partly because of a failure to apply sufficient levels of fertilizers. The average use of fertilizers in most African countries is still around 16kg per hectare, which is far below the continent-wide recommendation of about 100kg per hectare.

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As a result, average crop yields are only a fraction of those enjoyed by other regions and risk not keeping up with the continent’s growing need for food. To meet demand, sub-Saharan Africa must triple the amount of cereals it produced in 2007 by 2050. This is in the face of many challenges in the coming decades, such as water scarcity and climate change.

“By scaling up improved soil analysis and nutrient best management practices, farmers in Africa can increase the efficiency and productivity of their farms and avoid the additional conversion of an estimated 80 million hectares of additional land to desert,” Mr Terrab said.

Mr Terrab also pledged to increase efforts to attract more youth and women into roles across agriculture. Despite most of Africa’s population is under the age of 24, the average age of farmers is 60 years old.

Mr Terrab’s chairmanship follows an extensive strategic assessment of the industry, investigating how it can further contribute to the world’s broader sustainable development goals.

“The global fertilizer industry remains committed to environmental stewardship and stakeholder relationship building,” said Charlotte Hebebrand, Director General of IFA. “We are excited to continue on this important path under Mr Terrab’s chairmanship.”

“A shift in the fertilizer industry is already underway” added Mr Terrab: “and IFA is poised to step up its scientific engagement, sustainable plant nutrition and production programmes.”

Mr Terrab holds a PhD in Operations Research from MIT and previously worked in the Moroccan government and at the World Bank before joining OCP Group in 2006.

The International Fertilizer Association (IFA) is a trade association representing the global fertilizer industry.

IFA member companies represent all activities related to the production and distribution of every type of fertilizer, their raw materials and intermediates. IFA’s membership also includes organizations involved in agronomic research and training. IFA has some 525 members in about 85 countries.

The global fertilizer industry produces some 170 million tons of fertilizer nutrients annually. These are used in every corner of the globe to support sustainable agricultural production and food security.

Also, OCP plays an important role in feeding a growing global population, by providing essential elements for soil fertility and plants growth.

With almost a century of experience and revenues reaching US$ 5.95 billion in 2018, OCP Group is a leader in the phosphate rock and the world’s first producer of phosphate-based fertilizers.

OCP provides a wide range of well-adapted fertilizer products to enhance soil, increase agricultural yields, and help to feed the planet in a sustainable and affordable way. Thanks to its large-scale integrated industrial development strategy, OCP is present on the entire phosphate value chain and operates on all of its business lines, offering to its 23,000 employees a development path focused on excellence.

Headquartered in Morocco, OCP works in a close partnership with more than 160 customers over 5 continents. Committed to best serve the development of Africa, OCP places innovation at the heart of its strategy, in particular, to implement sustainable and prosperous agriculture on the continent.

As a responsible industrial player, OCP is strongly committed to Africa’s environmental, social and human development.

The Group is firmly convinced that leadership and profitability are necessarily synonymous to social responsibility and sustainable development. Its strategic vision resides where these two dimensions meet.