As a responsible industrial actor, OCP Group is strongly committed to the environmental, social and human development of the African continent. The group is dedicated to raising awareness among small and medium farmers of the best agricultural practices and has built a value proposition for African agriculture that will help overcome the challenges of industrialisation through impactful initiatives that will contribute to the sector’s transformation, growth and organisation. As part of this commitment, OCP puts the farmer at the heart of every solution it designs and deploys in the field, with the main goal of reinventing agricultural approaches and practices to attract and engage youth through the following:
- Better soil and crop productivity, involving a best-in-class product offerings based on science and R&D
- Innovative solutions that create new ecosystems, and deliver (directly or digitally) agricultural best practices
- Knowledge and know-how, training young leaders and employee volunteering.
ACCESS TO MARKET-ADAPTED PRODUCTS
The world’s population is growing, and agriculture remains the largest employer in Africa. This is why the group’s primary mission is to contribute to feeding the planet by providing farmers with the tools they need for better food production. To this aim, the group strives to contribute to strengthening the entire African agricultural ecosystem by providing farmers with the means necessary to thrive. The creation of OCP Africa
in 2016 (an OCP subsidiary dedicated to the African continent) supports the group’s commitment to agricultural development in the continent by increasing farmers’ access to adapted products, to improve and increase their yields and help them move from sub-
sistence agriculture to real value-creating agriculture. This approach is based on two key pillars:
- Agricultural innovation: OCP is exploring digital agriculture and other innovations that can increase crop yields and assist farmers with other necessary inputs, services and marketing
- Holistic, farmer-centric support: OCP works to bring together partners throughout the value chain to provide the full range of support that farmers need to be successful – from skills training and soil testing to access to financing, insurance and markets.
Present in many African countries through subsidiaries and/or representative offices (Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Benin, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Rwanda), OCP Africa helps secure the production of competitive fertilisers close to major agricultural basins, to strengthen its logistical capacities and develop new local distribution networks. Thanks to OCP Africa, local farmers have the right products they need, at the right time, right quantity, and at the right price. It is no longer only a question of fertiliser distribution but of offering complete solutions to farmers, especially in terms of training and financing. OCP Africa’s approach revolves around farmer proximity, with facilities close to farmers, providing them with access to the resources necessary to increase their crop yield and facilitate access to the continent’s consumer markets.
This long-term commitment is founded on an ecosystem of rich partnerships, be it local, pan-African, or international. The success of this model has already allowed OCP Africa to increase its fertiliser sales from 1.7 million tons in 2016 to 1.8 million tons in 2018, with a balanced distribution across the continent.
WORKING IN CO-CONSTRUCTION TO TRAIN FARMERS
OCP Group and OCP Africa are leading several initiatives across the continent to raise farmers’ awareness of good agricultural practices, and to provide them with the resources necessary to improve their yields.
With the help of their partners in the field, they are committed to working hand-in-hand with farmers and passing on theoretical and practical knowledge that combine agronomic tests, soil analyses and recommendations related to fertilisers. To date, several hundred thousand farmers have benefited from the following initiatives, led by the group and its African subsidiary.
OCP School Lab
OCP School Labs offer a multitude of services ranging from demonstrations and interactive training sessions using fun learning materials to real-time soil fertility analysis. The laboratory has the latest modern technology such as mid-infrared sensors and X-ray, allowing the farmer to address technical aspects on the spot, such as the nutritional needs of soils and fertiliser recommendations. Training and access to technology are two key components that make it possible for farmers to have regular contact with agronomists. Since 2017, more than 270 000 farmers in seven countries have benefited from OCP Africa’s assistance, namely in Nigeria, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Burkina Faso, and Senegal.
Currently being deployed across the continent, the Agribooster programme provides a complete package with both products and services designed to boost the returns of small-scale farmers by increasing their access to good-quality inputs and financial services, and enhancing market linkages. Agribooster also offers farmers training on best agricultural practices. Deployed successfully in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, the programme has supported more than 140 000 smallholders of maize,rice and sorghum since 2017, increasing the production of some crops by up to 40%.
Agricultural Caravans by OCP Foundation
OCP Group places innovation and R&D as vectors of competitiveness for a successful agriculture and source of creation of new agricultural wealth for Africa. Several OCP Agricultural Caravans crisscrossed different regions of Africa, particularly in Côte d’Ivoire (October 2015), Guinea (May 2015), Togo (April 2017), Madagascar (September 2017), Burkina Faso (May 2018) and in Ethiopia (June 2018). Samples and soil analyses are carried out during caravans and are used for the production of fertility maps to assess the level of soil fertility and their specific needs for nutrients. The results obtained are made accessible to small producers. Farmers can take the necessary measures to optimise their yields.
Al Moutmir Outreach Programme
As part of its commitment to agricultural transformation, OCP Group has set up a multi-service outreach initiative to better support and serve farmers. Named Al Moutmir (loosely translated as ‘the fruitful’), this agile and integrated initiative reflects OCP’s value proposition based on extension services for scientific research and innovation in the sector. Al Moutmir is based on three main pillars, namely a scientific approach, a partnership approach and making the farmer a real change agent.
Al Moutmir offers a multitude of services and solutions deployed in closer proximity to farmers, including mobile soil-analysis laboratories deployed in different provinces across the country, training covering the technical itinerary of crops, and demonstration platforms for training and sharing of good agricultural practices. The current campaign is estimated at 2 000 demonstration platforms.
This initiative is run by a team of agronomic engineers deployed across several provinces at a national level. Each engineer is in charge of promoting the balanced nutrition of crops following a technical itinerary of quality for the benefit of the farmers in their region. Overall, more than 40 agronomists will be permanently deployed in 37 provinces to work with farmers and provide training, demonstrations, supervision and support.
Al Moutmir has developed a capacity-building mechanism to enable the farmer to be a real agent of change. Thus, multi-target training offer is available: training farmers throughout the technical itinerary; rural women who will play a key role in the transformation of the agricultural sector; programmes designed for co-operatives; and a capacity-building programme for young leaders to encourage youth entrepreneurship in agriculture.
Besides the human resources deployed, OCP provides farmers with important scientific and technological support – mainly the scientific reference system, which is disseminated and adapted to each stage of the technical itinerary. Mobile laboratories, deployed to all regions, carry out soil analyses free of charge with almost immediate results, and are a real showcase of the latest technologies and innovations in the agricultural field.
OCP also offers a wide range of services and tools integrating innovative production units (smart blenders), mobile applications, a call centre, sensors and connected objects to collect and analyse data. A real catalyst of development, digitalisation is positioned at the heart of the Al Moutmir initiative. It thus facilitates the transfer of scientific knowledge to the farmer and encourages sharing with the agricultural ecosystem.
With the goal of multiplying its efforts and reaching as many farmers as possible, Al Moutmir is taking advantage of the momentum built by the Act4Community initiative by launching a spin-off: Act4Farmers, which allows OCP collaborators to take time off work to volunteer in programmes serving farmers in different areas. Al Moutmir provides these volunteers with all the necessary tools to better serve farmers: the support and expertise of agricultural engineers; a comprehensive scientific reference system according to crop; the Al Moutmir mobile itinerary; mobile laboratories; demonstration platforms and training.
OCP’s Al Moutmir is an initiative that reflects the group’s commitment to contribute to the transformation of the agricultural sector in Morocco and other countries experiencing a similar agricultural transformation.
INNOVATION AND RESEARCH IN SERVICE OF THE GREEN REVOLUTION
OCP is convinced that innovation is the key to prosperous and sustainable agriculture and provides farmers with new solutions enabling them to improve their yields while preserving the environment. The group invests in R&D to design and develop ever more adapted products, based on the principles of smart agriculture and offers digital initiatives and new technologies that generate fertiliser recommendations that meet the needs of the soil and the dictates of climate change. The following innovative programmes reflect the group’s long-term commitment.
Smart Blender Production Unit
Introduced in 2018 during the 13th edition of SIAM, the Smart Blender is a custom NPK fertiliser production unit that can produce fertilisers for specific crops and soils, based on soil analyses and target yields. For the needs of crops and plots identified, it offers a custom NPK blend fertiliser for optimised profitability. The intelligent recommendation system developed by OCP provides a recommendation for complete fertilisation that is entirely adapted to the needs of macro and micro-nutrients, from the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) formula to the prescribed dose, as well as the number of bags to use depending on the area of the farm along with the financial cost simulation.
Climate-Smart Agriculture Project
Launched in May 2016, out of a partnership between the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University and the NGO Climate Interactive, the Climate-Smart Agriculture project has a twofold ambition: to strengthen the capacities of African leaders in the face of climate change and prepare them to participate in climate negotiations, through the dissemination of the World Climate Simulation; and to develop a decision-making tool integrating the climate-smart agriculture approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and identify the most urgent issues on the continent.
Centre of Excellence for Soil and Fertiliser Research in Africa
The Centre for Soil and Fertiliser Research in Africa (CSFRA), the leading centre of excellence of its kind is developing a digital database of all soils in Africa to provide the ecosystem with powerful research tools for a better knowledge of the continent’s soils. CSFRA’s work is focused on four research areas: promoting soil and crop-friendly fertilisers in Africa; capacity building; targeting soil health initiatives; and increasing fertiliser-use efficiency.