Islamic Finance Corporation, OCP Africa partner for agriculture financing
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, (ITFC, International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation) (ITFC-IDB.org), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, and OCP Africa ) (OCPAfrica.com), a subsidiary of OCP SA, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will cater towards strategic funding, innovation and capacity building measures to increase agricultural production yields and income levels for Africa’s smallholder farmers. The agreement was signed between Mr Karim Lotfi Senhadji, CEO, OCP Africa and ITFC CEO, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol.
The MoU will increase collaboration between ITFC and OCP Africa in various areas, including smallholder farmer training on sound agricultural practices; soil testing and fertility management to support better yields; innovation and digitalization tools to modernize agricultural practices; and capacity building and support of young farmers for sustainable and inclusive development.
Commenting on the MoU, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO, ITFC, said that the cooperation with OCP Africa is in line with ITFC’s mandate to support the development of strategic value chains in countries member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). “The services provided by ITFC in the agricultural sector, both in terms of trade financing and tactial support, has expanded significantly over the past years, targeting critical areas of the value chain, from farm input to processing, pre-export, and export. The sector is also one of the value chains that is ready for innovation and SME development.”
OCP Africa’s CEO, Karim Lotfi Senhadji said, “The smallholder farmer is central to OCP Africa’s strategy to support the transition of farming communities from subsistence farming to modern, sustainable agri-business. Our aim is to strengthen the continent’s agriculture ecosystems thus enabling African farmers to prosper. The agreement with ITFC will support efforts to train farmers on best farming practices, test soils for accurate fertilizer recommendations, facilitate access to financing, and improve access to markets”.
ITFC and OCP Africa will jointly introduce a new “OCP School lab” campaign in Senegal in November 2019. A flagship program of OCP Africa, OCP School Lab is an innovative program aimed at increasing the yields and the incomes of smallholder’s farmers on strategic crops by offering a full set of agri-services:
· A School: interactive training sessions with live demos on good agricultural practices and animated videos in local dialects for higher impact
· A mobile Lab: Soil-testing using latest innovations (X-rays, big data and machine learning) and live information on soil needs and fertilizer recommendations
ITFC has been providing significant support to ensure food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, trade finance approvals for the food & agriculture sector amounted to US$749.6 million, representing 14.4% of the total trade finance portfolio, a 71% increase compared to the previous year. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 50% of ITFC’s food & agriculture sector financing extended in 2018.