The Agricultural Caravan, supported by OCP Foundation in several sub-Saharan African countries, is now reaching Ethiopia. It is targeting four agricultural regions of the country in its pilot phase including Oromia, Amhara, Tigray and SNNP.
OCP Foundation carries on its commitment to the development of sustainable and resilient agriculture in Africa. Following the launch of two Agricultural Caravans in Togo and Madagascar in 2017, along with Burkina Faso last May, OCP Foundation launched a new one on June 1st, 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The launching ceremony was chaired by the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Resources (MoALR), Mr. Shiferaw Shigutie, State Ministers Dr. Eyasu Abrha and Dr. Kaba Urgessa, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco in Ethiopia Mrs. Nezha Alaoui M’hammdi, along with the CEO of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency, Mr. Khalid Bomba, the General Director of the Ethiopian Soil Resources Institute, Prof. Fassil Kebede, the General Director of the National Soil Testing Center of Ethiopia, Mr. Fikre Mekuria, and other high-level local authorities.
The Caravan will then drive through the Oromia, Amhara, Tigray and SNNP regions.
The objective is to complete a soil fertility map for a pilot zone in the country by October 2018. No less than 100,000 hectares will be mapped, collecting 1,000 soil samples to be analyzed.
Data obtained from these surveys will serve to implement the soil fertility map expert system for crop fertilizer recommendations.
The launch of this Caravan illustrates the partnership initiated between the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Resources and OCP Foundation.
This partnership aims to strengthen the technical capacities of the MoALR’s agronomists, in soil fertility, crops fertilization, fertilizers quality control, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) applied to soil fertility mapping. To this end, 15 Ethiopian agronomists benefited from a technical training on soil fertility and crop fertilization.
Additionally, four other laboratory technicians have participated in a one-month practical training on fertilizers quality control organized at the Jorf Lasfar Industrial Complex in Morocco.
The partnership also consists in equipping two soil analysis laboratories (one fixed laboratory and one mobile laboratory to i) analyze soil samples that will be collected as part of the project in order to complete the soil fertility map of Ethiopia and also (ii) perform fertilizer quality control tests.
Furthermore, this cooperation is an opportunity to develop the Agricultural Caravan, which includes materials and mobile devices to organize awareness sessions for smallholder farmers on best agricultural practices.
As a reminder, agriculture is the main economic sector in Ethiopia, a country with a population of 100 million.
Agriculture accounts for 45% of Ethiopia’s GDP, 83% of employment and 90% of exports. It brings together 12 million smallholders and several hundred commercial farms. Coffee, oilseeds and livestock are the main sources of income for Ethiopian farmers.
OCP Group places great importance on the development of Ethiopian agriculture. This Caravan builds on the partnership signed in 2016 for the construction of a $2.4 billion World Class Integrated Fertilizer Platform.
Located in the Dire Dawa region, this unit will provide a production capacity of 2.5 million tons per year, which will enable Ethiopia to be self-sufficient in fertilizer production while creating export opportunities.
An additional investment of $1.3 billion will be added later to increase the Platform’s production to 3.8 million tons per year and thus, cover all the fertilizer needs of Ethiopian farmers.