The Chairman of OCP Africa, Mr Karim Lotfi Senhaji, has envisioned a bright future for Africa if the continent will adopt a holistic ecosystem approach that will, among others, use fertiliser effectively to improve food production.
He said such an approach should also consider the judicious use of water resources, energy, research and development and the provision of tools to empower the youth.
According to him, agriculture was key to Africa’s development, for which reason, the OCP had embarked on a number of initiatives which would put small-holder farmers at the centre, using a value chain approach.
Mr Lotfi Senhaji made a presentation on: “Fulfilling Africa’s agricultural potential through market development and better fertiliser use,” at the three-day 10th Annual Argus Africa Fertiliser Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.
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The OCP was the host sponsor of the conference, which brought together participants, including key stakeholders, from 52 countries to network and share ideas on how to improve crop yields and create business growth for people in the supply chain.
The OCP Group (formerly the Office Chérifien des Phosphates), was founded in Morocco on August 7, 1920. It is one of the leading exporters of phosphate rock, phosphoric acid and phosphate fertiliser in the world.
It has nearly 20,000 employees located mainly in four mining sites and two chemical complexes in Morocco, as well as in other international locations.
Mr Lotfi Senhaji said the company’s approach had led to the boosting of yields with improved seeds and adapted fertiliser, good agricultural practices and financing credit for purchasing inputs, investment in equipment and optimised crop milling and storage to add value and reduce post-harvest losses.
He, however, expressed concern over Africa’s situation in 2030 when, he said, there would be a decrease in arable land, increase in food imports to about $100 billion while 90 per cent of the population would live in extreme poverty.
In addition, more than 200 million would encounter water scarcity, while 3.5 million people would migrate from Africa in search of greener pastures annually.
He said the OCP would promote digital innovation in agriculture, since it was now a new market place for the youth.
The Commissioner, Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union, Madam Josefa Sacko, said there was the need to address the severe depletion of soil in Africa with fertiliser.
She also said Africa accounted for only three per cent of the world’s fertiliser use, 70 per cent of which was concentrated in the northern and southern parts of the continent.
She further called for actions and programmes that would make fertiliser accessible and affordable to farmers on the continent.