Moroccan fertiliser giant, OCP Group is currently building fertiliser blending plants in Nigeria that will produce soil and crop-specific fertilisers to ensure improved yields. Bennett Oghifo reports
Experts in agriculture have reached a conclusion that for any farmer to have a decent yield the soil must either be rich naturally or enriched with fertilisers. Soils in Africa, including Nigeria’s are deficient and there are maps from scientific analysis to show the gravity of the deficiency. Nigerian soils, like those of other African countries, are deficient in the main elements such as nitrogen, phosphorous, among others.
Providing farmers with fertiliser is a challenge that Morocco’s OCP Group is meeting head-on, as it enters into partnership with government and private companies in Nigeria. OCP is the largest phosphate producer in the world and a leading global fertiliser player, backed by almost a century of production history. OCP has exclusive access to the world’s largest phosphate rock reserve base, which it converts into a range of products.
It is one of the lowest cost producers of phosphate rock in the industry and has become a leading player in production and trade volumes across the phosphate value chain. OCP, which opened its huge mines, modern processing plant and export facilities to the media across Africa, employs approximately 21,000 people and contributes to regional development through its mining and fertiliser operations, and through its sustainability programme.
OCP’s partnerships in Nigeria and in other countries in Africa are executed by its subsidiary known as OCP Africa, which was created in 2016 to work hand-in-hand with farmers to contribute to unlocking Africa’s vast agricultural potential.
OCP Africa is constructing three ultra-modern Fertiliser Bulk Blending Plants in Nigeria. The multi-million dollar plants, located in Ogun, Kaduna and Enugu States will be equipped with facilities to produce both crops and soil specific fertiliser blends with the possibility of micro nutrients additions. When the three plants are completed in 2019, the plants will add a total of 470,000 metric tonnes per annum of blended fertilisers to the Nigerian agricultural industry to support the developmental initiatives of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the sector.
As part of its expansion projects, the company also has plans to add three more Bulk Blending plants to the industry in the year 2023 to ensure that Nigeria has the local capacities to meet her growing fertiliser needs.
OCP Africa, in partnership with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), is constructing a multi-billion Dollar industrial plant for the production of Ammonia from the readily available natural gas in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. When this plant is ready, it will provide ammonia requirements for the NPK granulation needs of the agricultural industry in Nigeria.
OCP Africa using its OCP School Lab project’s platform has deployed four state-of-the-art mobile laboratory technologies in the states of Kaduna, Katsina, Kano and Bauchi. With this project, OCP Africa will reach out to 70,000 small holder farmers in 2019 teaching them on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in 467 farming communities spread over the remote locations in the states. In addition to GAP training, OCP Africa will carry out 21,000 soil analyses and make reports available to the farmers on live basis. The farmers will also get professional advice on the best suited inputs for their soil types and targeted crops.
In 2017, OCP Africa trained 10,826 small holder farmers in 12 local governments of Kaduna State performing 2,130 soil analyses with reports given to farmers to guide them for the 2018 rain-fed season. OCP Africa has plans to cover all the states in Nigeria over the next few years so as to make this soil testing facilities available to all Smallholder farmers in almost all states of the country.
The reports of the analyses gathered over a period of time will be used to develop the fertility maps for Nigeria which will be a very useful tool to guide fertiliser blending in Nigeria. This in turn will pave the way for our farmers to increase their productivity and thus make farming sustainable in Nigeria.