OCP Foundation Launches Agricultural Caravan in Ethiopia
After the agricultural caravans it launched in Côte d’Ivoire (Octobre 2015), Guinea (May 2015), Togo (April 2017), Madagascar (Septembre 2017) and Burkina Faso (May 2018),
the foundation of the Moroccan phosphates group OCP kicked-off a new stage on Friday (June 1) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The caravan will crisscross the next agricultural season in four regions of the country to complete the fertility map of Ethiopian soils. More than 100,000 hectares will be mapped during the pilot phase of the project.
The four regions targeted in the pilot phase are Oromia, Amhara, Tigray and SNNP (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and peoples’ region).
“The goal of this caravan is to complete the soil fertility map for a pilot area of the country by the end of October 2018. Some 100,000 hectares of soils must be mapped and 1,000 composite soil samples to be collected and analyzed,” the OCP group said in a statement. The results of these analyses will help create a decision support tool for better fertilizer recommendations.
The launch of the OCP caravan is an opportunity to illustrate the partnership between the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and the OCP Foundation. This partnership concerns first of all the reinforcement of the technical capacities of the agronomists of the ministry in the fields of soil fertility and the reasoned fertilization of cultures, the control of the quality of the fertilizers, as well as that of the Geographical Information Systems (GIS) applied to soil mapping.
As part of the capacity building program by the OCP teams, 15 Ethiopian agronomists benefited from technical training on soil fertility and crop fertilization and four laboratory technicians followed, in the industrial complex of Jorf Lasfar, Morocco, a one-month practical training in quality control of fertilizers. The trainees will ensure the smooth running of the caravan. In addition to collecting soil samples, the agricultural caravan aims to meet producers in each stage to raise awareness and spread good sustainable agricultural practices, focusing on reasoned fertilization.
The partnership also involves equipping two soil-testing laboratories (a fixed laboratory and a mobile laboratory) with the materials required to analyze the soil samples that will be collected as part of the project to draw a soil fertility map of Ethiopia and carry out quality control tests of fertilizers.
This cooperation also aims to set up an agricultural trailer made of rolling stock for the organization of awareness sessions for small farmers on good agricultural practices of the main crops grown in Ethiopia.
OCP Group attaches great importance to the development of the Ethiopian market. A partnership of more than $2.4 billion was signed in 2016 for the construction of a fertilizer plant in the Dire Dawa region.
The unit with international standards will provide a production capacity of 2.5 million tons of inputs per year. This will enable the country to achieve self-sufficiency in fertilizer while creating export opportunities. An additional investment of $1.3 billion will enable the platform to reach 3.8 million tons per year and thus cover all the fertilizer needs of farmers in the country, which has a 100 million strong population.
The agricultural caravans, since launched in Morocco in 2012, illustrate the OCP Group’s vision. The very one that places innovation and R & D as vectors of competitiveness for efficient agriculture and sources of new agricultural wealth for Africa.
OCP, a global leader in the fertilizer industry, announcing the results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018, said revenues reached MAD 9,776 million ($ 1.06 billion), compared with MAD 10,860 million ($ 1.08 billion), in the same period last year.