At the recent 11th Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions, organized by Agrihouse Foundation in Tamale, Mr. Reuben Binpori, the Inclusive Business Models Expert at GIZ MOAP-NW, put into proper context with examples, the challenges of most agribusiness startups, agri- processors and farmers in the country, whiles highlighting possible solutions and practical measures being implemented by MOAP-NW to curb the challenges of value chain actors.
This year, (GIZ MOAP-NW) the Market Orientated Agriculture Programme and the REACH Project collaborated to sponsor the 11th Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions— the annual market linkage event that brings together companies that are into fertilizers, seeds, Irrigation, machinery and equipment, Finance, Transportation, ICT, Processors, Packagers, Marketers, Government Institutions, Development Partners, among others.
The platform serves as a highly engaging training and capacity building and exhibitions time for all actors within the agric value chain, helping them add to their knowledge and skills through practical sessions including field demonstrations, commodity breakout sessions, farmer-buyer matchmaking dialogues, gender workshops, development corporate conversations, showcasing successful agribusiness modules and exhibitions.
Stakeholders and participants are able to network with companies and among themselves within this period, serving as an opportunity for them to strike new deals, build their customer and client’s database and importantly, negotiate new contracts towards the harvest season.
GIZ MOAP-NW and REACH Project in Northern Ghana
During a Commodity Breakout Session with a good number of young participants, Mr. Reuben Binpori revealed that the Market Orientated Agriculture Programme operates in fourteen districts of some selected areas in the north and aims to transform and enhance quality in agricultural production, “to increase income and create jobs along the value chains,” he stressed.
Since January 2017, the promgramme which is expected to end in 2013, continues to work with all relevant stakeholders, including women, startup agripreneurs and young Ghanaians with a desire to contribute to the country’s agricultural value chain, “for an inclusive, equitable and climate-smart approach,” he noted.
Adding that, through initiatives such as providing grants and technical support, 25,000 persons have been trained; 1,800 farmers & processors have been certified within the programme; 5,500 farmers have received support under contract farming arrangements; and 500 jobs have been created just in the processing sector (59% female, 77% under 35 years).
He said MOAP-NW works closely with the public and private extension services, decision makers, producers, processors, input providers and exporters for a robust and successful agri-business.
“In the southern sector, the programme supports farmers who produce citrus, pineapple, mango; whiles in the North-West, we offer assistance to cashew, rice, groundnut, mango, sorghum soybeans and vegetables farmers,” he revealed.
He enlightened the participants on the importance of cashew farming, emphasizing its multipurpose usage, and how it can be processed into cannel. He said the commodity is of high value around the globe and can also be used in place of groundnut. He therefore urged participants to integrate cashew crops into their farms so that they can make more revenue.
The participants, who were largely young farmers from some districts in the Northern Region appealed for the programme to be extended to their areas. Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Rauf Mohammed Awal, a farmer from the Savulugu Municipality, highlighted several major concerns of farmers in the region.
“Farmers here really struggle to get the needed support, and because of that we are lacking behind in so many inspect in the farming industry,” he lamented.
He said an extension of the MOAP-NW programme to support farmers in the Northern Region would prevent many of their colleagues from quitting farming, which is currently happening. In his response, Mr. Binpori urged the farmers to continue being committed to their farming activities, and assured them that, when more funding is made available by their partners, the project would certainly be extended to support them.
During the GIZ hour, the Technical Advisor of the GIZ-EU REACH Project for the North West Zone of Ghana, Mr. Prosper Wie, highlighted a number of programs and activities they implement to support farmers in the districts they work in. According to Mr. Prosper Wie, beyond giving grants and other financial packages to support young farmers, they also collaborated with the different organizations to organize capacity-building training programs that educate the farmers on effective ways to utilize the financial and technical resources they are supported with.
He highlighted climate change as a major environmental issue GIZ MOAP and REACH Project are very particular about. In light of that, he said, the organizations in their outreaches, continuously educating the farmers on the need to replace fallen trees, and plant around their immediate surroundings, “we provide seedlings to Farmers and interested persons. These activities help to mitigate the impact of climate change that is already here with us,” he said.
He said REACH and GIZ MOAP-NW also work to support a number of farmers in the districts, by helping them to diversify their income sources when it comes their main economy activities. Thus, they have created jobs along the commodity value chain, which has contributed to the enhancement of farm level productivity.
“Last year we offered input fund and grants to aggregators. With this support, many farmers were able to access input to farmers, which enabled them to go about their farming production activities. They were able to pay back the amount of money they were given at the end of the season. This is how we are able to support other aggregators to also invest into their agriculture production,” he explained.
He thanked Agrihouse Foundation for committing to the Annual Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibition, and urged the young farmers who were present to make the most the event.
11th Pre-harvest Exhibitions and Conference Activities
The 3-days leading market linkage event opened on Tuesday, October 19th, and run until Thursday, October 21. The edition, which was on theme “Working Together to Improve Market Channels for Agri-foods Beyond the Pandemic,” took place at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium, in Tamale in the Northern region.
The leading agribusiness market linkage conference and exhibitions event, featured major training and capacity session, such as, commodity breakout session, farmer-buyer matchmaking dialogues, showcasing successful agribusiness modules, exhibitions, agri-youth forum, gender workshop, development partner panel conversation, and practical field demonstrations exercises.
The event further highlighted and addressed the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified within the sector, the effects it has posed on marketing Agri-foods, while exploring existing market channels to address these challenges.
A key highlight of the 3-day event was the Field demonstrations, where farmers and actors got to practically learn, appreciate and adopt best practices in Farm Management. This took place at the Agrihouse Foundation AGRI-VILLAGE, a Ten (10) acre land, donated by the Bamvim Lana (Chief of Bamvim.
In the short to long term, the Agrihouse Foundation Agri-village is expected to house different type of farms (including seeds and Livestock Farms), Demonstration Centres, Conference / Workshop halls, Restrooms, Exhibition stores for Agric Companies, Training and Recreational Centres, Storage space, Processing Centres, Production room, Laboratories and Research Centres.
Impacts of Pre-harvest Over the Years
Pre-harvest has created and continues to connect, through exhibitions, and training sessions, companies that are into fertilizers, seeds, Irrigation, machinery and equipment, Finance, Transportation, ICT, Processors, Packagers, Marketers, Government Institutions, Development Partners, among others. Over 90% of companies and participants have been linked to markets through the Exhibitions.
Pre-harvest has become a leading event on the Ghanaian agricultural calendar and has served as a stimulating platform for training, and for creating increased stakeholder linkages, exhibitions and expanded opportunities. It operates from a facilitative dimension by presenting a highly engaging and coordinated platform that ensures that smallholder farmers are connected to markets, finance, inputs, equipment, and information.
These activities are geared towards capturing the marketing challenges faced by the actors especially in the pandemic and how other modernized marketing platforms can serve as a solution to maximize the output of the actors along the value chain. Farmers, actors along the value chain and participants will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to observe Good Agricultural Practices.
This year’s 3-days event (2021 11th edition) recorded 118 Exhibitors including farmers, traders, commodity brokers, input companies, machinery and equipment providers, transporters, financial institutions, ICT, Innovations, Poultry and Livestock companies, packaging and processing companies, development practitioners and government agencies, among others. It made room for 3200 Participants; 32 FBO’s from different regions and districts who represented over 300, 000 farmers of rice, maize, soyabeans, sorghum, millet, groundnut, vegetables, yam and tubers, etc. A total of 46 buyers negotiated and signed deals with farmers.
In 2020, (10th edition) the event recorded a total of 3,122 participants and 122 exhibitors including farmers, traders, commodity brokers, input companies, machinery and equipment providers, transporters, financial institutions, ICT, Innovations, Poultry and Livestock companies, packaging and processing companies, development practitioners and government agencies, among others.
Report on the 2019 event showed that about 70 business deals were made during the Exhibition. More than GHS232, 420, 745 of agri products and equipment were sold and bought. The event has improved the livelihoods of the players along the value chain by boosting their confidence i.e. created a stimulus platform for collaborating with other actors for business deals/increased stakeholders linkages.
It has given agro-processors a strong drive to access their raw materials locally, agribusiness development, grown the local economy through the expansion of agribusiness opportunities and has become a platform of growth for agribusiness entrepreneurs. The event will remain one of the leading events in the country, where farmers, businesses, government and ideas meet to network, build capacity, learn and explore business opportunities, sign deals and close contracts.
In 2018, the event won the Agribusiness event of the Year, for helping to promotes business partnerships among value chain actors, especially farmers, buyers, processors, transporters, input dealers, equipment dealers, financial institutions, telecom companies and policy makers. Over the years, through continuous improvement, it has accelerated the transformation of agribusiness in Northern Ghana, alongside Government’s initiatives.