12,000 Rice, Millet farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal get massive support from World Bank Group
London, Sep. 29, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has partnered with OCP Africa, a world leader in the phosphate and derivatives market, to strengthen value chains of rice in Côte d’Ivoire and millet in Senegal, and to help improve the living conditions of thousands of smallholder farmers
Rice and millet are essential to food security in the two countries, but a lack of training, unsustainable agricultural practices, and limited access to financing hinder production.
Under the partnership, the IFC intends to offer advisory services to farmers and agricultural groups that are members of OCP Africa’s Agri Booster program. The OCP program aims to benefit some 12,000 Ivorian and Senegalese farmers by 2022.
Agri Booster seeks to strengthen agricultural cooperatives’ technical, financial, and managerial skills and improve agricultural practices. It focuses on introducing smart solutions for water and soil management amid the threat of climate change.
Rice and millet producers in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal are also set to benefit from the digitization of payment systems and improved access to finance.
“This partnership gives concrete form to our vision of releasing the potential of African agriculture in a sustainable way through a holistic approach, involving key players in the value chain, for the benefit of small farmers,” underlined OCP Africa Director-General Mohamed Anouar Jamali, .
The partnership with the IFC follows OCP Africa’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cote d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Rice Promotion earlier this month.
With the MoU, OCP Africa intends to boost rice production in Cote d’Ivoire and make the country self-sufficient by 2025, while the Ivorian government aspires to become one of the largest African rice exporters by 2030.
OCP Africa’s initiative in Cote d’Ivoire includes restructuring value chains for rice-growing activities and broadening access to suitable fertilizers that will improve crop yields.
Similar to the OCP Africa-IFC partnership, OCP’s agreement with the Ivorian rice ministry includes education and training on good agricultural practices and the digitalization of value chains.
OCP, as a phosphate giant and fertilizer producer, aims to share its expertise in agriculture with African partners. Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, and Ghana have recently partnered with OCP Africa to improve agricultural practices and address challenges of food insecurity.
The company has also carried out its mission to combat food insecurity in Africa in Nigeria, Zambia, Benin, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Rwanda.