Industry Insights

Microsoft and OCP Africa collaborate to support Smallholder farmers

Microsoft, through its Africa Transformation Office, and Morocco’s OCP Africa announced during the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), held in Doha, March 5-9, a cooperation to empower smallholder farmers and other stakeholders across Africa by 2025.

OCP Africa, a company based in Africa that offers fertilizer solutions customized to regional conditions and the requirements of soils and crops across the continent, is collaborating with Microsoft to strengthen and expand its digital agriculture platform, according to a statement released on Friday.

The goal of the digital platform is to increase the caliber of farmers’ output and give them the tools they need to operate their enterprises more effectively.

The agreement between the two businesses will enable the quick growth of the agricultural platforms into existing and new geographic regions, while also enhancing and creating new services.

The statement noted that in order to boost agricultural productivity and decrease losses in the food production chain, smallholder farmers’ livelihoods and resilience must be strengthened.

The transformation of the food system must prioritize adaptation and resilience given the growing implications of more frequent extreme weather events.

For the industry to be optimized and new revenue streams to be created that will assure global food security, it is essential to collaborate with African AgriTech startups, agribusinesses, and other partners.

Microsoft wants to encourage the digitalization of agriculture to spur economic development. Precision agriculture will be a result of the use and integration of technologies such as cloud, AI, agricultural data platforms, and Azure application modernization in the agricultural sector.

By utilizing OCP Africa programs like the idea of an agri-hub to serve millions of farmers, the alliance will let smallholder farmers to access skills and information through agri-digital services.

In order to construct their data and artificial intelligence platform, OCP Africa will also engage with Microsoft to investigate the use of big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. This will increase operational efficiency and better serve ecosystem stakeholders.

“We believe that precision agriculture, brought about by the adoption of advanced technologies in the agricultural sector, will revolutionize food production and help eliminate hunger and poverty in Africa,” Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster Managing Director Wael Elkabbany, was quoted in the statement as saying.

He added: “Technology is the key factor in enabling and increasing access to finance, equipment and sustainability for rural farmers, empowering local farmers in Africa. Our partnership with OCP Africa will help to directly impact smallholder farmers and improve production”.

Mohamed Anouar Jamali, the CEO of OCP Africa, emphasized that “African agriculture is at a transformative moment in its history and a time of incredible opportunity and promise for farmers and industry.”

“The digitization of agricultural practices in Africa enables smallholder farmers to optimize their decision-making, which helps optimize production. The partnership between OCP Africa and Microsoft will allow us to increase the services provided, expand our digital platform, extend our reach and have an even greater impact on food security across the continent,” he added.