African food crisis, Morocco comes to the rescue
The announcement by Morocco’s phosphates and fertilizers producer OCP to double its soil nutrient exports to Africa was a boon for a continent that bears the brunt of the surge in commodities prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
OCP said last week it will bolster its fertilizers exports to Africa to 4 million tons in 2023 compared to 2 million tons in 2021, a decision that will help address the fertilizer supply gap on a continent where most countries are reliant on soil nutrient imports.
Africa has the highest proportion of people experiencing severe hunger representing 21% of its population. The UN food and agriculture organization said 282 million Africans suffer from undernourishment. Hence the need for a resilient agriculture in Africa with steady access to fertilizers to bolster output.
The OCP announcement adds to a previous move to offer 550,000 tons of fertilizers in donations and discounts to mitigate the impact of skyrocketing fertilizers on African finances.
Reuters quoted head of OCP Africa saying the move benefited 4 million African farmers in 20 countries so far.
Besides acting on the supply dimension, the OCP has invested over 6 billion dollars to build fertilizers plants in Nigeria and Ethiopia as well as Ghana, giving these countries potential not only to meet all their fertilizers needs but also leaving much space for export to neighboring African countries.
OCP has also set up laboratories in the 12 African countries where it directly operates, offering customized fertilizers and blenders to meet the needs of different African soils.
Thanks to OCP’s supply of customized fetrtilizers, Senegal’s millet yield jumped 63% and Nigeria’s corn yield 48%, with similar results in Ghana and elsewhere. OCP’s involvement in Ethiopia has seen wheat, corn, and teff yields increase by up to 37%.