Feeding the world’s growing population

New Zealand’s reputation as a quality food producer is growing.

Optimising food production

Over the next 50 years farmers around the world will need to produce more food than has been grown over the past 10,000 years.

Best use from a limited resource

Fertiliser helps farmers produce food efficiently by replenishing the soil. But fertiliser needs to be used responsibly.

Responsible and sustainable nutrient management

The Fertiliser Association invests in research and tools to ensure farm profitability while minimising nutrient losses to the environment.

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand promotes and encourages responsible and scientifically-based nutrient management.

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Western Sahara

Our members have always been conscious of the potential risks associated with sourcing from Western Sahara, and have managed the risks by heighted managerial oversight, including regular visits to the region. They have commissioned a full human rights due diligence assessment by an independent third party, which was undertaken in accordance with guidance set out in the UNGPs.

OCP has been a very willing partner in this process, including having fully implemented ESG reporting across its entire operation. The company is also making substantive progress in developing and implementing human rights policies across its business.

The independent assessors’ view is OCP has demonstrated it is taking clear responsibility in identifying and managing human rights risk within the company.

Our members have been conscious for many years that the political situation regarding the status of Western Sahara requires resolution at an international level. The relevant obligations under international law and with respect to United Nations processes are complex and disputed. Our members are conscious that in terms of the UNGPs they are directly linked to the unresolved issue of self-determination in Western Sahara. This issue fundamentally underpins all consideration of human rights in Western Sahara.

About Phosboucraa

Phosboucraa is a phosphate rock mine in Western Sahara. It was established in 1962 by the Spanish state-owned company INI with mining operations at Boucraa starting in 1972. OCP Group acquired a 65% ownership share of Phosboucraa in 1976 and became the sole owner in 2002. Its activity consists of mining, processing and marketing phosphate rock.

Phosboucraa rock is ideal for New Zealand's specific soil conditions and environmental constraints. It is high in phosphorus and has relatively low cadmium levels compared to the very high levels in Nauru rock, which was used previously.

Who works at the phosphate rock mine in Western Sahara?

Phosboucraa is the largest employer of local people in the region. More than 2,000 people are employed and many of them are Saharawi, including the Chairman of Phosboucraa. According to OCP, 79% of the workers are local, compared to only 4% in the 1970s, with nearly 100% of new employees now hired locally.

What compliance regulations are in place at the mine?

All OCP's operations and activities, including Phosboucraa, are regularly reviewed by KPMG. The reviews show the company meets and goes beyond national and international standards for health and safety, environmental quality and sustainability. OCP has twice been awarded the International Fertilizer Association Industry Stewardship Gold Medal.

What kind of social development does Phosboucraa invest in?

The Phosboucraa Foundation was established in 2014 to administer Phosboucraa's corporate sustainability programmes in the region, supporting its employees and the broader local community with significant socio-economic benefits.

These include the construction and support of pre-schools and primary schools for local children, housing for Phosboucraa's workers and retirees, and the provision of medical clinics, recreational centres, learning centres and other services for the local community. These initiatives are particularly focused on opportunities for youth and women.

How do you know the mining company OCP is looking after the local people?

OCP provides evidence that all funds from the phosphate mine are either reinvested in the mining operation or invested in programmes that benefit the local people.

OCP financial data confirms it has taken no dividends from the operation of Phosboucraa, with all profits reinvested in the region to maintain and expand operations and to support the local community.

Key resources

OCP's sustainability approach

Under the Acacia - Phosboucraa Community Report

OCP 2021 Sustainability Report

UN documents

The latest UN Secretary-General reports on Western Sahara and other useful documents relating to the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) can be found on the MINURSO website.

Opinion of Hans Corell Under-Secretary-General for legal Affairs

UN list of non self-governing territories

UN resolution on Economic and other activities which affect the interests of the peoples of non self-governing territories 7 Dec 2017

The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and Dairy NZ funded development of the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme (NMACP). This industry-wide certification aims to ensure that advisers have the learning, experience and capability to give sound nutrient advice.

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12 June 2024

FANZ places great value on developing New Zealand’s agricultural research capability. One way we do this is through supporting PhD students. Among the students we are currently supporting is Kaitlin Watson, a Lincoln University student whose PhD looks at phosphorus and nitrogen cycling in dryland pastures under conventional and regenerative agriculture management.

27 March 2024

FANZ is dedicated to funding research and developing New Zealand’s agricultural research capability by supporting PhD research such as the work of Massey University student Nicola Wilson who is undertaking research on ‘What Hot Water Extractable Carbon and Nitrogen can tell us about changes in labile soil Carbon and Nitrogen.’

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