A visit to the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Benguerir, a centre of agricultural innovation and technology/knowledge hubs such as the Research Institute for Solar and New Energies (IRESEN) in Morocco, which hosts Africa’s Solar Decathlon shows some of the potential benefits of the partnership between Nigeria and Morocco. It extends beyond, to include fostering cultural conversations between Nigeria and Morocco, spanned through the economic and cultural hub of Casablanca to OCP Africa’s extensive fertiliser plants in Jorf Lasfar and Khouribga; its inspired think-tank, the Centre for the New South in Rabat; and the tourist resort town of Marrakech and Tangers, location of one of the largest new seaports in Africa.
OCP Africa has been a major instrument for fostering this relationship and expansion of the agricultural sector in Nigeria, which is the core focus of the fertiliser giant, including but not limited to bridging the knowledge gap of how the development of a virile agricultural ecosystem can lead to surmounting the problems of hunger, unemployment and need on the continent.
Among the expansion drives are collaborations with critical stakeholders in the agricultural sector and its positioning as a corporate entity at the frontier of modern agricultural practices.
With Africa’s agriculture threatened by continent-wide challenges chief of which is low yields occasioned by outdated practices, deteriorating soil quality, climate change, desertification and flooding, a revolution offers a rare hope and a template for transforming the sector, reducing hunger and combating poverty.
Expansion efforts in the Nigierian agricultural sector is expressed in different ways: production; such as the partnership between the Fertilizer producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FESPAN) as part of the presidential Fertilizer Initiative, supported by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Fund (NSIA). Another is the extraction and Development of the Sokoto Phosphate Deposits. Research and Development initiatives has seen OCP Africa partner with institutions in Nigeria to develop soil and crop specific fertilizer for Nigeria. There are also farmer support projects which have helped establish the OCP Agribooster, OCP School Lab and Agritech in Nigeria.
Recently, OCP in partnership with JESA, a engineering company, organised a training on Project Management for OCP’s partners in Nigeria, thus sharing OCP’s knowledge and experience on project management.
The interactive forum between the University Mohammed iv Polytechnic with Nigerian Universities and the signing of an MoU with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi state also serves another effort to expand agricultural in Nigeria as this is aimed at strengthening cooperation between the the two universities in training, development, research, technology transfer in areas such as Agriculture and Fertilisation, Architecture and Urbanism, Chemical Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, Industrial Management, Mining, Renewable Energies, Sustainable Development and other fields identified by the two parties to be of interest
A lot of opportunities exist in experience-sharing to foster a cultural and economic dialogue that will not only be beneficial to both countries but will possibly also deepen the debate on a new cooperation.