In a significant stride toward sustainable agriculture, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and OCP Group, the world’s largest phosphate-based fertilizer producer, have joined forces to accelerate the production of low-carbon fertilizers using solar energy. This collaboration aims to enhance global food systems while reducing vulnerability to fluctuations in hydrocarbon prices.
At the Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Marrakech, the partnership was unveiled. Under this agreement, IFC will extend a €100 million green loan to OCP towards the construction of two solar power plants in the mining towns of Benguerir and Khouribga, Morocco. These plants, with a combined capacity of 400 megawatts peak (MWp) and up to 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of battery storage, represent the largest integrated solar photovoltaic project in North Africa and the first in Morocco.
This initiative signifies a pivotal step toward OCP’s goal of achieving 100% renewable energy usage in its fertilizer production by 2027. “Today’s agreement is a major milestone towards our target of using 100% renewable energy in our fertilizer production by 2027,” stated Mostafa Terrab, Chairman, and CEO of OCP Group. “Our deepening collaboration with IFC reflects our alignment on the urgency of addressing the global challenges of food security and climate change simultaneously.”
Makhtar Diop, IFC Managing Director, emphasized the significance of this partnership: “IFC is proud to support OCP in its journey to reduce its carbon footprint, a strategy that will have long-term positive effects not only in Morocco but also on the global food supply. The fertilizer industry needs leading companies like OCP to embrace a sustainable path forward, and IFC is committed to supporting this important shift.”
This collaboration follows IFC’s earlier green loan to OCP, where €100 million was provided for the construction of four solar power plants in Benguerir and Khouribga, forming a part of OCP’s 1.2 gigawatts peak (GWp) solar program.
OCP’s solar initiative falls under its $13 billion Green Investment Program, aiming to increase green fertilizer production and transition its operations entirely to green energy by 2027. The project is implemented by OCP Green Energy SA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of OCP, in collaboration with INNOVX, a venture platform launched by Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, dedicated to building sustainable businesses with a local impact.
This move toward sustainable agriculture is crucial, especially in the face of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which have strained global food supply chains. By reducing dependence on hydrocarbons, this partnership enhances sustainable food production, promotes price stability, and strengthens food security in developing and emerging countries.
IFC’s green loan agreement with OCP aligns with its strategy to increase climate-related investments and projects in emerging markets, contributing to the decarbonization of economies and adaptation to a warming planet. This initiative is also in line with IFC’s Global Food Security Platform, a $6 billion financing facility launched in 2022 to support the private sector’s response to the food crisis and promote sustainable food production.