Morocco’s OCP offers Africa 550k tonnes of fertilizers

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MARRAKECH — Morocco’s state phosphates and fertilizer producer OCP will offer 180,000 tonnes of soil nutrients in aid and 370,000 tonnes at a discount to help African states cope with surging prices, a senior company executive said on Wednesday.

The donated and discounted volumes will represent 16% of African demand this year and a quarter of OCP group’s sales on the continent said Nada Elmajdoub, executive vice president performance management, in an interview with Reuters.

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The African Development Bank said in May that fertilizer prices on the continent had quadrupled since the start of the war in Ukraine, which has disrupted supply chains, and that Africa faced a shortage of 2 million tonnes.

“In the face of this crisis the most urgent move that we came up with is this relief program to help in the very short term,” Elmajdoub said on the sidelines of a US-Africa business conference in Marrakech.

OCP, along with many other Moroccan state-owned and private companies, has been expanding its investments in Sub-Saharan Africa in recent years, boosting the kingdom’s economic clout as it also seeks to strengthen its diplomatic engagement.

Elmajdoub said OCP has dedicated 20% of its fertilizers output to meet the needs of the African continent, where it is planning to build soil nutrients and ammonia plants in Nigeria and Ethiopia.

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She said the group is addressing the “challenge of availability and affordability of fertilizers,” by increasing output.

She said OCP plans to raise production capacity by a further 1 million tonnes this year and two million next year, compared with 10.8 million tones last year.

In the first five months this year, Morocco’s phosphates and derivatives exports nearly doubled to 47.6 billion dirhams ($4.65 bln), the foreign exchange regulator said.

OCP’s 2021 revenue rose 50% in 2021 to 84.3 billion dirhams, with fertilizers contributing 62%, according to company figures. (Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Angus McDowall, Kirsten Donovan)

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