IVORY COAST – The Ivorian state and the OCP Group have laid the first stone for the establishment of a Digital Farming School aimed at unlocking the potential of the agricultural sector in the country.
According to Ecofin Agency, the laying of the foundation follows an earlier memorandum of understanding signed in 2022 between OCP Group and the Ivorian state in anticipation that the project will be completed by 2024.
In a statement, the OCP Africa stated that the Digital Farming School, developed in collaboration with the Felix Houphouet-Boigny National Polytechnic Institute (INPHB-Cote d’Ivoire), will be the first branch of UM6P University in sub-Saharan Africa with an estimated cost of US$4.5 million.
Expressing his enthusiasm, OCP Africa CEO Mohamed Anouar Jamali stated: “We are delighted to lay the foundation stone for the Digital Farming School here in Yamoussoukro”.
He added that the initiative will open up new perspectives for Ivorian youth in the field of AgriTech, reinforcing innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital transformation of agriculture in Cote d’Ivoire and Africa.
The stone-laying ceremony was attended by key officials, including Adama Diawara, Ivorian Minister of Higher Education, Abdelmalek Kettani, Moroccan Ambassador in Ivory Coast, Mohamed Hettiti, Vice President of OCP for West Africa, and UM6P’s Bouchaib Boulanouar.
The launch of this groundbreaking school coincides with the Year of Youth in Ivory Coast, as designated by President Alassane Dramane Ouattara, as part of the government’s plan to support educational and technological initiatives for youth.
Supporting the initiative, the OCP group said that it is in line with the strategy put in place by the Ivorian State to accelerate its agricultural transformation while facilitating the professional integration of young people arriving on the job market.
Additionally, the project is envisioned to “build a new generation of well-qualified and equipped agritech, capable of actively contributing to the digital transformation of African agriculture, strengthening the development of the processing industry and modernizing agricultural farms”.
Students from this school are envisioned to provide innovative and adapted solutions to meet the needs of farmers and improve the entire value chain of the Ivorian and African agricultural sectors.
To do this, the School will be backed by a digital farm which will serve as a learning platform favoring practice with an emphasis on new technologies used in the agricultural sector.