OCP Africa, a subsidiary of OCP Group, a leading global provider of phosphate and related derivatives has revealed its affiliation with some Nigerian research institutions to develop a specialised fertiliser needed to boost wheat production in the country and reduce the importation demand of the cereal grain used in the production of bread and other staple foods.
The partnership themed “Soil Mapping and Fertility Evaluation for Formulation and Validation of Wheat specific Fertilizer in Nigeria.” was signed with three research institutions including; the Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), and Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University,Kano with the mandate to develop fertiliser solutions customized to local conditions and crop needs and ensure sustainable development of local wheat production, OCP disclosed.
Caleb Usoh, the Nigeria country manager of the organisation, during the two-day workshop organised to mark the commencement of the project in Kaduna assured that the partnership will proffer solutions that would spike an astronomical increase in wheat production in Nigeria.
Usoh, who was represented by Akin Akiwande, business development manager of the organisation, explained that the organisation became interested in the wheat value chain following calls received from the Kaduna State Ministry of Agriculture for soil testing assistance in 2020.
This, according to the country manager, subsequently led to the development of bespoke fertiliser for about 142,000 hectares cleared for wheat production in the Birnin Gwari area of the state.
He bemoaned that wheat production in the country was plagued with several problems including poor access to improved seed varieties, inappropriate fertilisers and agrochemicals, poor irrigation systems among others, adding that in a bid to resolve these problems, the company has beckoned on their research partners to collaborate with them.
Usoh, thereafter, enjoined government, donors, developmental agencies, stakeholders in agriculture, farmers as well as the farming community to support the project and help actualise sustainable growth of wheat production in the country.