Creating Emerging Markets Sustainability Series – Leapfrogging Traditional Agricultural Development in Africa

Cover image features Mostafa Terrab.

By 2050, the world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion people, with more than half of the growth coming from Africa. The increase in population will require significant agricultural development on the continent, which “[possesses] 65% of the Earth's uncultivated arable land.” Given the studied relationship between global food systems and greenhouse gas emissions, is it possible to build up the African agricultural sector in a sustainable fashion? Researchers believe it is. According to the Founding CEO of the Climate Action Platform for Africa (CAP-A), the continent “can follow a low/free emissions growth path by leapfrogging directly to green pathways without legacy energy and agricultural assets, employing the latest sustainable technologies and business models for consumption and production.”

Based in Morocco, the OCP Group – one of the world’s leading producers of phosphate-based fertilizers – has been at the forefront of innovations to sustainably grow Africa’s agricultural sector. OCP has invested heavily in developing the African market, recognizing how fertilizer use on farms throughout the continent has been 10% of the global average. However, they have not focused on the sale of traditional products but have instead developed “customized fertilizers” adapted to the unique soil and climate conditions of different regions.

In his interview with the CEM Project, Chairman and CEO of the OCP Group Mostafa Terrab contends that the customization process helps alleviate the negative environmental effects related with the overuse of fertilizer. Furthermore, he discusses how recent research has explored how the right soil nutrition can substantially increase its carbon-sequestering capabilities. He argues that this “leapfrogging” of traditional agricultural development presents the opportunity to ensure global food security while helping to counter the effects of climate change. Learn much more by watching the following video clips from Mostafa Terrab’s interview with Prof. Geoffrey Jones:

  • Innovation – The Development of Customized Fertilizer: Mostafa Terrab, Chairman and CEO of Morocco-based OCP Group, details the company’s strategies to significantly expand the African fertilizer market through the development of fertilizers specifically adapted to local conditions.
  • Sustainability – Reinforcing Soil Health: Mostafa Terrab, Chairman and CEO of Morocco-based OCP Group, explains how the proper use of fertilizers can reinforce soil health and potentially sequester significant amounts of carbon.
  • Sustainability – OCP’s Progress Towards Carbon Neutrality: Mostafa Terrab, Chairman and CEO of Morocco-based OCP Group, outlines the company’s commitments towards sustainability, which include major investments in solar power as well as the development of customized fertilizer with carbon-sequestering potential.