OCP Group, Ghanaian govt partner to boost fertiliser value chain

OCP Group, a Moroccan agriculture company renowned for being the world’s first producer of phosphate-based fertiliser and the Ghanaian government have entered into a partnership aimed at strengthening key aspects of the development of Ghanaian agriculture and industry.

The partnership plans to reach more than 500,000 farmers over the next three years, with at least 30 per cent of women.

According to a statement from the company, a copy of which was made available to Nigerian Tribune in Casablanca, Morocco, on Sunday, the cooperation agreement would see into farmers’ centric activities, soil mapping, innovation and digital farmers registration as well as a term sheet for the industrial project, aimed at strengthening key aspects of the development of Ghanaian agriculture and industry.

This development is coming on the heels of a Memorandumm of Understanding signed in September 2018, in which the government of Ghana, represented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and OCP Group set out to improve the fertiliser value chain to provide customised fertlisers at competitive prices to Ghanaians farmers.

“This partnership offers stakeholders in the fertliser value chain a range of high value-added services aiming at providing Ghanaian farmers with adapted and competitive fertilisers and also with all the resources tailored to their success: training for a better knowledge of their crops, understanding how best to maximise soil nutrition and a better financial inclusion. The key initiatives include holistic offer to farmers access to inputs, training, financing, market linkages as well as farmers school,” the statement read.

Alongside this latest cooperation agreement, OCP has also launched its IMPULSE programme, developed by Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), which aims at accelerating start-ups and active agri-entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector. The first stage of the IMPULSE African tour was held in Accra, Ghana, in August, 2019.

In order to enable the partnership between Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture and OCP Group become as effective as possible, it has included extensive research from the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, including start-ups aspects, plus JESA, OCP Group’s engineering subsidiary dedicated to the African continent alongside OCP Africa, its African subsidiary and OCP Foundation.

The statement also informed that the project of a fertiliser production plant, announced last September is to be located in the Western part of Ghana, in the Jomoro’s district. While the project is still in its conceptual phase, topographic and geotechnical studies are in progress.

It further stated that with the availability and processing of the natural resources both countries, combining natural gas from Ghana and phosphate from Morocco, the industrial unit is expected to have fertiliser production capacity of one million tons.

“In addition, this project will promote the development of the fertiliser value chain through tailored fertilisers produced locally for the Ghanaian market, involving the existing ecosystem of blending operators, while meeting the nutrient requirements adapted to local soil and crops.

“Ultimately, these joint initiatives will help employability, provide access to the quality inputs at a competitive price and significantly increase balanced fertiliser consumption by Ghanaian farmers.

“Presently, fertilisers use averages 18kg of nutrients per hectare, which is well below the 50kg of nutrients per hectare Abuja target. In addition to the Presidential Planting for Food and Job Programme undertaken by the government of Ghana, OCP Africa, the Group’s African subsidiary, has since 2017 launched support programmes for Ghanaian farmers through appropriate training, soil testing and offtake market opportunities.

“Some 85,000 farmers have benefited from the Agribooster and OCP School Lab Programmes since 2017.