Microsoft has announced a partnership with OCP Africa through its Africa Transformation Office, with the goal of positively impacting smallholder farmers and Agri-stakeholders across Africa by 2025.

OCP Africa provides fertilizer solutions tailored to local conditions as well as the needs of soils and crops throughout the continent. They will collaborate with Microsoft to strengthen and scale its digital agriculture platform. This platform improves farmer productivity while allowing them to better manage their businesses.

“In this time of increasing food insecurity, enhancing the resilience and livelihoods for smallholder farmers is needed to drive increased agriculture productivity, including reducing losses in the food production chain. With the increasing impacts of more frequent extreme weather events, adaptation and resilience are of crucial importance to the food system’s transformation,” said Wael Elkabbany, General Manager for Microsoft Africa Regional Cluster.

The announcement was made in Doha, Qatar at the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries. The collaboration will enable smallholder farmers to gain access to skilling and information through Agri-digital services, leveraging OCP Africa programs such as the Farmer Hub concept to support millions of farmers. OCP Africa will also collaborate with Microsoft to explore the use of big data, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to build their data and AI platform to improve operational efficiency and better serve ecosystem stakeholders.

On his part, CEO of OCP Africa Dr. Mohamed Anouar Jamali said: “African agriculture is at a transformational moment in its history – and a time of incredible possibility and promise for farmers and industry alike. Digitising agricultural practices in Africa allows smallholder farmers to optimise their decision-making, which in turn helps optimise production. The partnership between OCP Africa and Microsoft will allow us to increase the services provided and scale-up our digital platform, expand our reach and make an even bigger impact on food security across the continent.”

Collaboration with African AgriTech startups, agricultural firms, and partners to increase access to technology, skills, and agricultural knowledge is expected to optimize the industry and generate new revenue streams that will ensure global food security. The adoption and integration of technologies such as the Cloud, AI, Agri Data Platforms, and Azure App modernisation into the agricultural space is also expected to deliver transformation in the form of precision agriculture.