Ghana’s agricultural sector employs close to sixty percent of the country’s population. The sector, which is gradually expanding and taking shape, is also becoming a mechanized sub-sector of the national economy. Many stakeholders have reiterated the need for more public and private partnerships, which they argued is the way to building a vibrant and sustainable agricultural sector that employs both men and women equally, and dynamic and innovative enough to attract young people into its folds.
The need for partnerships and collaborations, therefore, cannot be underestimated. Partnerships and support systems enhance farmers’ access mentorships, practical trainings, financial packages, incentives and inputs supply, up-skilled extension services and improved and relevant agricultural technologies, among others.
Over the years, Agrihouse Foundation, as part of its core mandates, has been working in the areas of projects, promotions, advocacy, mentorship, branding, exhibitions, and capacity-building; pulling together resources and designing interventional events that help improve the capacity of many Ghanaian agri-men and women, as well as scale-up their initiatives.
In line with partnerships and sponsorships, year after year, organizations including, Agricultural Development Bank, YARA, OCP Africa, Ecobank, ABSA Ghana, among others, continue to lend tremendous financial and technical support to Agrihouse Foundation by aligning with the various interventional projects the organization facilitates.
These projects include:- the Livestock Poultry & Fisheries Trade Show (LiPF); the International Farmers and Agribusiness Resilience and Sustainability Convention (INTAFAC): the Agricultural students’ Career Guidance & Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AG-STUD); Annual Pre-harvest Agribusiness, Conference and Exhibitions; the Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Forum (WOFAGRIC) and Gold in the Soil Awards; Agri-Woman Marketplace; 1 household, 1 Garden Initiative (1h,1g); Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions; and the AgriWatchgh News Portal & Agriwatch News App.
Corporate Support for 11th Pre-harvest Slated for October
For the past four years, the Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions, which was the only project handed down to Agrihouse Foundation by USAID in 2018, has been thriving and chalking immense socio-economic impacts in the country’s agricultural space. The event, which has existed for eleven years, has also become one of the leading and highly impactful interventional market linkage events on the Ghanaian Agribusiness calendar, providing long-term market development opportunities for farmers and agribusinesses. The award-winning market-linkage platform promotes business partnerships among value chain actors, especially farmers, buyers, processors, government, Development partners, transporters, input dealers, civil society, equipment dealers, financial institutions, telecom companies and policy makers.
These successes continue to encourage both local and international corporations to align with the annual event. This year, organizations including Agricultural Development Bank, YARA, OCP AFRICA, United Fertilizers Company Limited have already come on board as sponsors and partners of the 3-days event, scheduled to take place from Tuesday, 19th to Thursday, 21 October, at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium, in Tamale in the Northern region.
Focusing on the theme, “Working Together to Improve Market Channels for Agri-foods Beyond the Pandemic,” the three (3) days leading Agribusiness market linkage conference and exhibitions, will feature keys sessions like Training and Capacity session, Commodity Breakout sessions; Exhibitions; and Farmer-buyer Matchmaking Dialogues. The event, in cognizance of the times, will also highlight 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.
The Training and Capacity-Building Sessions: in sizable groups that enable easy interaction and flow of information, the farmers are enlightened on agric related topics that increase their knowledge and skills as farmers. This year, organizations including ADB, YARA, OCP AFRICA and UFCL, will the leading discussions in this session with topics including:- how to achieve inclusivity in the agric supply chain; the roles of farmers in community development; Learning, unlearning and relearning processes in the agricultural sector.
The Commodity Breakout Sessions: this session has been specially designed to educate farmers and agri-processors on integral operations of the commodity market, such as crops pricing; how farmers can market efficiently operate within the commodity space; engage with organizations that can help them get accurate rates and prices for their crops, good and services, among others. Personnel’s from ADB, YARA, OCP AFRICA and UFCL will be leading participants in discussions such as:- how to help farmers and processor to explore modern markets, examples, digital marketing platforms, and the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCE). How to build resilient investment channels for Agrifoods beyond the pandemic.
Farmer-Buyer Matchmaking Dialogues: this is a specially designed networking sessions that allows farmers to connect with potential wholesale buyers. Agri-processors and companies have direct access to the farmers who grow raw materials they need for their production. Within this session, both parties, farmers and buyers make and seal deals. Already one hundred and twenty agribusinesses in the country, some with international presence have registered to be part of the event. Farmers Groups, including Gushegu OB Network, Tamale OB Network, Jirapa OB Network, Kusaug OB NETWORK, Nawuni OB Network Sissala Area OB Network, Tininyangi OB Network, Yendi OB Network Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen, and Beinmoni Outgrower Business (OB) NETWORK have also confirmed their participation in the event.
Exhibitions: amidst all these important sessions that seek to empower the farmers both technically and financially, organizers also make room for an elaborate exhibitions that allows the farmers and agribusinesses and processors at the event to showcase the crops, goods and services to the public and walk in buyers that come to the event. At the end of the end, beyond the mega deals the farmers are able to sign with companies, they are also bale to sell their crops at the retail level and make money.
Field Demonstrations: A key highlight of the 3-day event will be the Field demonstrations, where farmers and actors get to practically learn, appreciate and adopt best practices in Farm Management. This will take place at the Agrihouse Foundation AGRI-VILLAGE, a Ten (10) acre land, donated by the Bamvim Lana (Chief of Bamvim). It is expected that Companies leading various Training sessions, will setup mini-demonstration fields for a more engaging practical session. 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 Centers, Conference/ Workshop halls, Restrooms, Exhibition stores for Agric Companies, Training and Recreational Centers, Storage space, Processing centers, Production room, Laboratories and Research Centers.
Ultimately, the three days Conference and Exhibitions event aims to improve and increase productively in the areas of markets for Agri-foods in the country; provide a market platform where buyers and sellers can interact to enhance and grow their businesses; provide more exposure on little or untapped modernize channels of market areas to grow and support Agri-foods. The event also seeks to create the enabling environment to promote Partnerships to support farmers and agribusinesses before and after harvesting. The event will educate, encourage and support farmers to adopt Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to stay resilient amidst the pandemic and beyond.
The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) will be leading a commodity Break-out session, Training and capacity building session and an Agri-Financing Dialogue, aimed at exposing farmers, value chain actors and stakeholders on innovative funding schemes, whiles strengthening actors with resilient building strategies for Agribusiness success and sustainability, beyond the pandemic.
The United Fertilizers Company Limited (UFCL) will be facilitating a Field Demonstration and a Capacity Building session; with a key objective to support farmers and value chain actors in adopting reliable practices and appropriate application modules, that guarantee them maximum yield during harvest.
YARA will be leading key Commodity Breakout sessions with rice, maize, yam, soyabean, sorghum, millet, cashew and vegetable farmers. Yara will also lead practical Training and Capacity Building sessions, whiles sharing success stories on modules and solutions that have worked.
At the end of each Yara session, participants will be leaving with knowledge of best crop nutrition solutions, practices, when adopted will lead to increase in yield and maximize high return on investments. Yara sessions will also offer you evidenced based solutions of when to grow, how to grow at the right place, with the right recommendations and the right fertilizer!
OCP AFRICA will be facilitating a Field Demonstration and Capacity-building Session that will highlight the OCP’s School Lab and the tailor-made services it provides, including, free soil testing, best agricultural practices and demonstrating current technologies and innovations to Ghanaian Farmers and value chain actors. The School Lab has already assisted over 420,000 farmers across Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Togo, Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire. At the end of the sessions, participants will know how they can also become beneficiaries of all FREE Agronomic Services OCP provides for farmers and value chain actors across the country.
Impacts of Pre-Harvest Conference and Exhibitions Over the Years
The Pre-harvest event, over the past (10) years, has created and connected, through exhibitions, 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, according to organizers of the event, 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.
In 2020 (the 10th edition), the event recorded 3,122 participants, and one hundred Twenty-two (122) companies registered and participated in the Exhibitions. Furthermore, previous experience showed that the pre-harvest program has led to the development of business deals for farmers.
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.
“Even as the Country is opening up, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and from current trends and the on-going registration process, we are positive, a good number of Companies, will sign –up to showcase their products and services. This year’s 11th Pre-Harvest event will not come short in playing its role in facilitating farmers and agro-processors to access opportunities to expand their growth potentials and build new partnerships. We have a strong team with the capacity to ensure that,” Ms. Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa has assured stakeholders and the public.
Why You Should Participate In Pre-harvest
The annual event ensures that participants obtain the knowledge to new structured and sustainable ways of marketing your products and services. Participants are able to meet, interact, and sign business deals with over 1000 farmers or actors that suits their business, while exhibiting their product or services to a wider audience from all the sectors of agribusiness.
Furthermore, the event creates opportunities for participants to interact with over 100 exhibitors to strike business deals of interest; become updated on national policies and opportunities for all agricultural actors and what holds for the future. Participants also get the opportunity to be of open informal sessions that allow them to interact with other farmers and agri-processors, to network and engage with no speakers or panelists; just an informal interactive discussion.
Participants get an opportunity to interact and hear from agri-experts who provide the solutions to challenges and the opportunities in the sector. They partake in interactive keynote sessions designed to highlight issues and progress and development happening in the agricultural sector.
Even more, participants obtain practical and realistic experiences through real life case studies, while the field demonstrations also help participants to understand and appreciate modern and effective technologies for agricultural productivity.
The event also create a platform for participants to meet key decision makers to network and dialogue; obtain self-empowerment lectures that can motivate them to continue growing their agribusinesses and improve their livelihoods.