OCP Group has taken a crucial role in Morocco’s response to the Covid-19 health crisis. Leveraging its infrastructure and outreach programs, remarkable success has been achieved in the area of emergency logistics, protecting both Moroccan agriculture and localised business ecosystems. This has allowed for a surprising degree of continued economic activity, despite the consequences of the global pandemic.
Following the creation of Morocco’s special fund for managing the coronavirus crisis, OCP Group made a contribution of 3 billion dirhams ($300 million). This donation and the broad coordination and mobilisation of the company’s resources have had a profound positive impact on the people of Morocco.
"As part of this surge of national solidarity instilled by His Majesty the King, this package is part of a set of measures that the group intends to deploy in the coming days to support the state in its efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus, and its consequences on the national economy," said an OCP Group source.
"The Group, true to its sense of duty and responsibility, will also make use of its programs, notably Act4Community and Al Moutmir, and its [social and medical] infrastructure," the source added.
Overseeing the group’s response, the OCP Group Covid-19 Task Force was set up, headed by representatives from management and the medical department. The group immediately established business continuity plans for each of its sites to ensure the continued safety of its workers and the viability of operations.
At the same time, the group extended its expertise and medical resources to its wider partners, ensuring the ongoing health of those in its immediate business ecosystem. Having existing programs to draw on in this period has been particularly useful.
Supporting rural communities
OCP Group’s programs, such as Act4Community, a corporate volunteering initiative, and Al Moutmir an agricultural science support program for farmers, have both been used to notable good effect in strengthening Morocco’s industries and communities.
The Al Moutmir program ordinarily acts as an information network, offering research and scientific support to thousands of farmers to help to improve their yields in crop production.
“With the farmers, we form a united community which has always been animated by values of mutual aid and sharing...Our teams train them on the composition and use of finished products, good practices for handling and storing fertilisers in situ, as well as on the management of points of sale. We help them to be better equipped to face the challenges of agriculture,” OCP Group said in an interview.
Being trusted and well-established within these communities has been integral to the effectiveness of the Al Moutmir program.
Despite coronavirus conditions, volunteers have continued to offer technical and agricultural expertise to farmers whilst observing social distancing measures. Crucially, they also helped public authorities to spread awareness on health and prevention to remote areas of the country, reinforcing the response effort.
“As a result of confinement, field visits can no longer be done at the same rate. But, for us, it was important to keep a technical link with the farmers. We advise them from a distance and we plan visits with caution, in full compliance with hygiene measures,” the company explained
A big part of the program’s success has been its strong digital media presence, engaging with farmers through webpages, digital messaging, and social media. This was a powerful tool when converted for the dissemination of coronavirus-related information and has contributed significantly to the agricultural sector’s resilience.
Promoting adaptation for cooperatives
The Act4Community is another major program of the OCP Group that was well positioned to play a valuable role in the national coronavirus response. Volunteers from across OCP Group’s workforce were mobilised to bring specialist expertise to the people most in need.
A large part of this effort targeted cooperatives, equipping them through training and awareness meetings to better handle the challenging circumstances, and in turn supporting communities through maintaining their economic activity.
By galvanising the national spirit of solidarity, OCP Group volunteers continue to help different local businesses make operational changes that allow them to endure under the new restriction imposed by the outbreak.
One way that they have done this is through teaching workers across different sectors how they can continue to work safely, despite restrictions on movement, on proximity of staff to one another, and despite it no longer being possible for customers to come to them in order to buy items.
Through a combination of digital skills training and technical assistance, Act4Community volunteers helped to draw up online catalogues of the products of the businesses in their community. They established delivery systems, even helping businesses put out of work due to health measures to adapt and become delivery teams for their local partners.
Relying on one another, developing deeper, wider-reaching connections within communities, and leaning on digital innovation, has gone a long way towards building psychological resilience for families, and economic resilience for the country as a whole.
By leveraging its different initiatives, the company has managed to make an even greater impact, bringing communities together and spreading a spirit of solidarity, agility, and self-reliance. All of these together are vital to enduring the health crisis.