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Women smallholder farmers to be trained on practices to boost produce quality

More than 104,000 women will be included in a three-year project to support smallholder farmers in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. 

The 2020-2023 project will support a total of 430,000 smallholder farmers as well as facilitate their access to quality and affordable agricultural input.

They will also be trained on good agricultural practices after the African Development Bank approved the participation of the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism (AFFM).

AFFM was established by the 2006 Abuja Declaration. Through this declaration, African Union member states committed to an initiative to improve agricultural productivity by providing financing required to boost fertiliser use in Africa to achieve the target of 50kg of nutrients per hectare.

The AfDB targeting farmers in the two countries involves a $4 million partial trade credit guarantee with OCP Africa, a subsidiary of the OCP Group.

The project will reduce potential risks along the agricultural value chain, and improve access to quality input, including fertiliser.

It will build on OCP Africa’s Agribooster, an initiative that relies on an inclusive approach to provide farmers access to quality input, training, finance and market linkages for increased yields, incomes and livelihoods.

The AfDB in a statement on Monday said activities are expected to boost productivity and help increase rice and maize yields by 35% in Ghana and rice yields by 30% in Côte d'Ivoire. 

In light of these expected outcomes, OCP Africa and the AFFM will each contribute $2 million in trade credit guarantees.

OCP Africa’s Senior Vice President for West Africa Lahcen Ennahli said, "The partnership with the African Development Bank will scale up and expand activities implemented under the Agribooster Initiative."

He said the initiative will serve as a model to further incentivise other private and development partners to enter into similar risk-sharing agreements that will have a positive multiplying effect on farmers, especially in the current context of Covid-19, which poses a serious threat to their welfare as well as to food security, inputs and agricultural know-how.

At the same time, Martin Fregene, Director of Agriculture and Agro-industry at the African Development Bank, added: "The African Development Bank is pleased to partner with OCP Africa to achieve the increased agricultural productivity objective of the Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy. 

"The project will contribute to the bank’s efforts to increase smallholder famers’ access to modern farming inputs in order to increase productivity and promote agriculture as a profitable and sustainable business in Africa."

The project is in line with the national development programmes of the two countries. It will support the implementation of the national rice strategy in Cote d'Ivoire, as well as the Planting for Food and Jobs programme in Ghana.

"Through this project, the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism is achieving its mission, which consists of supporting African countries to achieve the African Union target of application of at least 50kg of fertilizer nutrients per hectare on the African continent," said Marie Claire Kalihangabo, Coordinator of the Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism.

“This project is a good example of partnerships needed to transform the lives of African farmers and help them transition from subsistence farming to agribusiness,” added Younes Addou, Vice President Finance of OCP Africa.

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