Today 26th April 2018, a delegation of four from OCP Africa was hosted for a meeting at the RUFORUM Secretariat. An overview of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) was made to the team by Dr. Solange Uwituze, The Program Manager for Partnerships and Business Management, who highlighted the flagships of the RUFORUM Vision 2030 and possible areas of collaboration between RUFORUM and OCP Africa.
For the part of OCP Africa, Dr. Kirama Malaika, OCP Africa Vice President for East Africa, said that the highest resource of the African continent is its youth, and we have to make use of that demographic to grow our continent. She added that OCP Africa has a presence in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and “we would like to move to Uganda as well.”
“We want to see how OCP Africa can contribute to Agriculture and boost the export of some key and strategic crops like coffee, tea, and others, and to this end, we need partnerships with organisations like RUFORUM because, you not only focus on Agribusiness, one of our core areas, but also train young people coming out of Universities”
Dr. Kirama noted that at OCP Africa, they add value by training students thereby contributing to a pool of highly skilled and qualified Africans as agronomists, soil scientists, etc and all other blocks that work together. RUFORUM is already supporting these kind of graduates which makes a partnership the best way to harness and take advantage of these graduates.
The special focus of OCP is on soil health and Dr Kirama acknowledges the need for collaboration to undertake soil fertility tests in Eastern Africa. She noted that OCP Africa currently collaborates with the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) to study the soil as a gateway for agricultural transformation in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia synthetic fertilizers including DAP and UREA are dominant, and OCP developed a suitable product for their soils hence Ethiopians switched from UREA and DAP to the product, resulting into 2.5 times yield increases.