OCP Africa, Bauchi Govt Sign MoU on Agro-Sustainability Projects

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Ugo Aliogo

OCP Africa has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Bauchi State government on critical areas of collaboration to support the development and sustainability of the state’s agricultural sector.

In a statement made available to THISDAY by the company, the project agreement would complement both partners’ efforts in four specific areas where productivity would be revamped, “to ensure enhanced productivity and food security for the citizenry.”

The statement also stated that the MoU was signed by OCP Africa Fertilizers Nigeria, Country Manager, Caleb Usoh, and the Bauchi State’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Samaila Burga in the company of other state officials at the corporate head office of OCP Africa in Abuja.

Usoh further explained that the four complementary areas of collaboration are in the development of last mile inputs distribution through the OCP One Stop Shop; implementation of soil testing solutions, implementation of the agribooster project in the state, and collaboration with the state higher Institutions of learning.

Continuing, he maintained that as a plan to address the age-long challenge of poor access to adequate and appropriate farming inputs, training and technology by farmers in rural underserved communities, the MOU seeks to ensure a joint development of last mile inputs distribution through OCP One-Stop shop.

“Both parties have agreed to collaborate in setting up and equipping five centers for last-mile agro-inputs distribution and retail in very rural under-served farming communities with high agriculture potentials within Bauchi State,” the statement said.

He added that the one-stop-shop presents an all-inclusive total distribution solution that seeks to make available, under one roof all that is needed by a farmer to enable him to succeed in his farming. endeavor.

According to him, “The outlets are designed to create a platform for many different companies and service providers across the entire value chain to interact with farmers in provision of various goods and services. The centers will provide services such as; input distribution hub for quality input products and aftersales services; hub for access to mechanization and irrigation services; training hub for classroom and field learnings on good agricultural practices and center for financial solutions’ like input credit profiling and mobile money solutions to farmers and rural dwellers. The centers which are to be located in very rural areas will also be built to provide by way of CSR access to clean water for the communities.”

The country manager said Bauchi state have collaborated with it in the implementation of the OCP School Lab project from 2018 to 2019 in the form of a mobile Soil testing caravan, “which provided soil testing services to smallholder farmers; On the spot fertilizer recommendations; training on good agricultural practices and on simple soil sampling techniques.”

The statement remarked that the OCP in collaboration with the state government in the implementation of OCP School Lab project continues so long as the Bauchi State Government is willing to invest in acquiring the mobile caravan and laboratory, while OCP Africa provides technical support that would ensure the smooth operation of such initiative within in state.

The statement: “This present agreement will cover a wide range of activities like reaching smallholder farmers; recruiting and training youth as agricultural extension agents, supplying farm inputs such as fertilizers, seeds, and agrochemicals, while also facilitating access to credit for farmers who will participate in the project and leveraging digital technology to facilitate learning, farmers information gathering, field team management, and access to agricultural products and services. On collaboration with higher institutions of learning in the State, both parties intend to establish linkage between the Bauchi state University and OCP sponsored Mohammed 6 University in Benguerir Morocco to explore areas of academic and research collaborations, trainings and exchange programme. The aim is to energize and modernize the knowledge ecosystem in Bauchi state by providing access to innovative methodologies, technologies and research especially within the agriculture space.”

The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Samaila Adamu revealed the state government’s readiness to ensure sustainability of the partnership.

He said, “The essence of the MoU is for Bauchi State Government and OCP to collaborate to take the state to the highest level as far as agriculture is concerned. Basically, there are four major areas we want to start with. One is soil testing to know what is required of our various soils across the state. This is to improve soil quality. For the one-stop-shop. Most of our farmers are in rural areas where access roads are lacking. In view of this, OCP Africa came up with an initiative to convey most of these inputs to the doorsteps of the farmers.”