IN a bid to ensure that farmers in underserved markets have seamless access to fertilisers and other quality inputs, OCP Africa is establishing 55 one-stop-shop Farm & Fortune Hubs across the country.
OCP Africa Fertilisers Nigeria Limited (OCP Africa), a leader in the production of phosphate-based fertilisers, has also empowered agro entrepreneurs on how to use its hubs to boost farmers’ productivity, improve food security and nutrition.
Country Manager OCP Africa Fertilisers Nigeria, Caleb Usoh, while speaking during the training of agro promoters on the operations of its Farm& Fortune hub model, said it was a milestone in the company’s effort to contribute to productivity and food security across the country.
He said the Farm& Fortune hub was set up in accordance to cater for the needs of the population by providing effective service-delivery, in accordance with its policy of proximity.
Usoh explained that Farm & Fortune hubs were designed to offer knowledge to increase crop yield and productivity that would lead to improved food security and increased income for smallholder farm families.
He added that the operators of hubs will support the national extension service, through provision of timely and effective support to farmers and rural communities so that they can adopt and promote good agronomic practices.
He explained that the hubs will be equipped with agritech solutions to enable farmers optimise yields, boost farm productivity and increase their profitability.
By harnessing agri-tech, Usoh reiterated that OCP Fertilisers was confident of solving the pressing issues around food security, being mindful of the challenges local farmers’ face, such as using the hubs to help them aggregate and preserve their produce.
Usoh hoped the partnership will really help provide new opportunities for small farms and beginning farmers.
Chiagozie Nwizu Executive Director, Africa Franchise Institute, in a bid to improve farmers’ timely access to quality agro inputs and information, described OCP’s Farm & Fortune as an appropriate system that was going to have a positive impact on the agricultural sector.
There is a need for more robust and sustainable farming practices, which requires innovative technology solutions. Extension services for smallholder farmers is one way of providing relevant information and implementation strategies. The development of big data platforms is a means of informing farmers about agricultural best practices.
SunCulture identified access to water as the biggest challenge for most farmers, so the first product they developed was a solar-powered pump combined with micro irrigation.
Through precision agriculture, Microsoft is supporting SunCulture with an IoT platform and Azure machine learning tools for their solar-based system, which allows them to offer farmers personalised recommendations and solutions through their mobile phones. This helps them to be better, more productive farmers.
Group Director and Managing Director, East Africa for Africa Practice, remarked that: “Across Africa, agricultural transformation is well and truly underway. The opportunity for the sector to address some of the continent’s most pressing challenges including food security, income inequality and livelihoods for our fast growing and youthful population is immense.
“The big question is how to catalyse this momentum especially given the urgent need for a rapid post-Covid recovery. Our findings clearly show that agritech holds great promise as an effective tool to improve productivity, decision-making and access to markets. Africa Practice is excited about the results of the study and its potential to inform the growth of the agricultural sector on the continent.”
Regional Director, Microsoft 4Afrika, Amrote Abdella, said: “Technology has the potential to change the face of farming, using smart tools and platforms for precision farming, predicting weather patterns, maximising the use of scarce water resources.
By harnessing agri-tech, we can help solve the pressing issues around food security to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #2 of Zero Hunger, and enhance economic development in the process. We are excited to work with our partners in building locally-relevant technology solutions that are mindful of the challenges local farmers face, offering solutions to farmers to deliver meaningful impact.”