OCP Africa, a subsidiary of OCP Group – a producer of phosphate-based fertiliser, has stated its new strategy to use field demonstration activities to educate farmers on how to follow instructions to improve productivity in their fields to enhance food security.
The firm expressed its commitment to work hand-in-hand with smallholder farmers who form the majority of the farmers’ population to engage in best agronomic practices that would contribute to the realisation of food security through large-scale productions and subsequent job creation in the country.
Through its ‘Agribooster Programme’, also aimed at boosting food production in the country, the organisation has been assisting the farmers through a partnership with other fertiliser and seedling producers to make accessible quality and certified fertiliser and seedlings as well as other farm inputs.
OCP Africa is executing this project in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Mybarnes Limited, and other sector stakeholders to provide farmers with support for every aspect of the agricultural value chain.
The project also has an objective to connect farmers to financing and insurance organisations to facilitate access to financial services and loans.
As part of OCP Africa’s development strategy, it has designed an innovative ‘School Lab Programme’ – a mobile laboratory that moves through the remote areas of the country – to raise awareness of the importance of soil testing, and offer a full set of agri-services for smallholder farmers.
This has encouraged the youth, especially rural women, to engage in farming activities to enhance food production in attaining the government’s effort in ensuring food sufficiency under the Planting for Food and Jobs, and Rearing for Food and Jobs initiatives.
Over 2,000 smallholder farmers have benefitted from the initiatives to implement the government’s agricultural programmes.
At Ticheli, a farming community in the Northern Region, the farmers were engaged in a demonstration field where they were given training on maize varieties that went through best agronomic practices and the nature of the soil for a particular variety.
Business Development Analyst – OCP Ghana, David Appiah-Kubi, mentioned that the organisation, since its inception, has been supporting smallholder farmers from rural communities to adhere to best agronomic practices to maximise crop yields.
This, he noted, has sustained the business activities of most farmers to increase their crop yields from two tonnes to more than ten tonnes per person in the farming season.
According to him, the programme has prevented many of the youth, especially those who graduate from Senior High School, from migrating to the cities to search for greener pastures.
Marketing and Sales Representative – OCP Ghana, Eric Asante Antwi, also told the B&FT that the high cost of farm inputs nearly collapsed the business of the rural farmers but the intervention of the organisation and its partners has helped to revive them.
“Access to the farm inputs also has been a challenge to the rural dwellers, hence, the collaboration with other partners to support the farmers in order to cultivate enough to feed themselves and the nation,” he said.