February 4, 2023

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Africa can help feed the world (Mustafa Terrab)

Africa has the potential to become the farm of the world and eradicate the growing threat to food security, said OCP CEO Mostaba Terab.

With the population growth the world is seeing, ensuring global food security is no longer an option, “it’s a global imperative,” Terrap explained in an article. blog Published on the World Economic Forum website in conjunction with this year’s Davos Forum. .

Although Africa indeed has the potential to feed the world, Terrap argued, it currently faces serious food security challenges.

“As a Moroccan company, we know that this challenge is particularly acute in our own continent,” said OCP’s CEO. “By 2050, Africa’s population is expected to nearly double. »

As population growth threatens food security, Terab argued that it is now more “urgent” than ever to “accelerate the transition to sustainable and smart agriculture”.

While increasing agricultural yields may seem like a simple task, Terrab notes that the climate threat must also be considered. “Ensuring food security for all while protecting the Earth for future generations is not an option. It is a global imperative.

Africa could be the farm of the world

Africa currently has 60% of the world’s remaining arable land, OCP’s CEO points out in a blog post. Substantial amounts of fertile soil “represent humanity’s best hope for future food security.

However, many challenges prevent Africa from reaching its potential. The OCP CEO noted that African farmers use only 20 kilograms of fertilizer per hectare, far below the global average.

“It is estimated that local farmers would need to increase their fertilizer use by about tenfold to achieve higher yields per acre,” he said. “Doing this in a sustainable way – without long-term environmental impact – is important. Not just for the continent, but for the world.

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In the blog, Terrap called on all stakeholders to take “corrective action” to mitigate price shocks in food markets and protect the world’s population from the bleak prospect of dwindling food supplies.

“Any long-term solution to global food security and sustainable agriculture starts with the soil. Soil health is not just life under our feet. It also enables all life above ground, from plants to humans,” Terrap stressed the need to support farmers.

Bet on customized fertilizers

He further highlighted the need to focus on soil health and promote the use of customized fertilizers to ensure “sustainable high yields”, saying the strategy to reduce agriculture’s carbon footprint is key.

He added: “Healthy soils and improved biodiversity actively sequester harmful carbon from the atmosphere, while higher yields per acre reduce global pressure to convert forests and grasslands to agriculture.”

In Africa, Terrap explained, it is “very possible” to tailor fertilizers that meet the different needs of different soils. He noted that farmers across continents are already reaping the benefits of using improved fertilizer technology.

“Mobile laboratories already cross Africa and collect soil samples covering millions of hectares,” he said.

“With this data, farmers can map which land needs what kind of food and when. More efficient use of the right fertilizer—only what is needed and usable by the soil and crops—reduces waste and runoff to ground and surface water.

Formulated fertilizers have a significant socio-economic impact, helping to increase farmers’ incomes and lifting entire families out of poverty, while reducing production costs while increasing yields.

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Terrap concluded his blog post by stressing the need to accelerate the agricultural revolution through collective efforts.

“There’s still a lot of work to do,” he stressed. “But having a purpose isn’t noble—it’s essential.”