Agrihouse Foundation, has in the past week, launched the 11th edition of the annual Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibition and Conference, on the theme, “Working Together to Improve Market Channels for Agri-foods Beyond the Pandemic.” This year, the theme and focus of the 3-days market linkage event, is to further engage all actors within the agric value to explore more opportunities in markets, knowledge sharing and building resilience, especially, in a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified already existing challenges within the agricultural sector.
In attendance were representatives of organizing partners, collaborating institutions and sponsors, Farmer Based organizations, buyers, input dealers, tractor and equipment companies, processors and other value chain actors. The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), YARA, Ecobank Ghana and United Fertilizer Company Limited (UFCL), GIZ, Demeter Ghana Limited and HD Plus are sponsoring the 11th Pre-harvest event. Collaborating Institutions are the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), and the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC).
Farmer Group Beneficiaries
Mr. Benjamin Awuni, an FBO leader and Aggregator from the North East, who was present at the launch, shared testimony of how the event has changed and scaled-up the lives of famers and agribusinesses in the Northern region. He said the event has helped farmers in the Northern region to adopt best farming practices that reflect on their farm work and quantity of their produce during harvests.
Just as Agrihouse Foundation is doing now, USAID ADVANCE also facilitated meetings and training sessions for farmers, processors, transport operators, and input dealers, among others, with organizations like YARA, Ecobank and Interplast. These sessions and interactions resulted in hundreds of farmers qualifying for both financial and technical supports.
Currently, he heads over 1000 nucleus farmers in his region, and annually, the Pre-harvest Agribusiness event, now facilitated by Agrihouse Foundation, enables him and his colleagues to negotiate and sign off taker deals that makes running their farmers and agribusinesses sustainable. Over the years, he has been able to invest sufficiently in his farm and business as an aggregator. He owns a great number of machinery and equipment, which he purchased at affordable prices, thanks to his yearly participation in Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference.
For his part, the West African Regional Director for YARA, Mr. Danquah Addo-Yobo, reiterated YARA’s commitment to providing solution-oriented support that will continue to improve the livelihoods of farmers and other agric value chain actors, at this year’s 3-days Pre-harvest event. As a lead sponsor for this year’s Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference, he said, the event provides YARA an added opportunity to grow the knowledge of farmers in appropriate crop nutrition practices; an effort that aligns with the organization’s mission of feeding the world and protecting the planet.
He said, YARA has been committed to the growth of Pre-harvest since its inception in 2010, and will continue to do so. YARA will be leading a number of commodity training sessions and other Agric development sessions on Gender, Youth in Agric, Crop Nutrition and share case studies and stories of Modules that have worked at the Pre-harvest event.
The Value Chain Officer of Ecobank Ghana, Mr. Frederick Atakorah noted that the bank has over the years supported the Pre-harvest event with its technical and financial commitment, emphasizing that, this year would be no different, as Ecobank seeks to contribute to the continuous growth and stabilization of the agric value chain sector.
BAMVIM CHIEF HANDS OVER 10-ACRE SITE PLAN TO AGRIHOUSE
Agrihouse Foundation received the official site plan for the 10-acre land donated to the Foundation by the Chief of Bamvim Traditional Area, Bamvimlana Mahama Abdulai the Second, in the Northern region. Presenting the document, the Assistant Farm Manager of Bamvim Farms and son of the Chief of Bamvim, Mr. Haruna Mahama Abubakari-Sadiq, noted that over the past ten years, Pre-harvest has been the key event supporting the growth and development of agriculture in the northern parts of the country. He said the 3-days market linkage event has been very consistent each year; linking farmers to buyers including, fertilizer companies, seed companies, tractor and equipment companies, financial institutions, and ICT companies, among others.
This said, has also made it paramount for Agrihouse Foundation to acquire a dedicated, accessible and good land to continue its good work in the agric space. According to him, the Chiefs and Traditional heads in the Northern region are happy to support Agrihouse Foundation because, over the years, they have been part of Pre-harvest, and have witnessed the success the event has brought in the northern region. He also used the opportunity to call on Government, the private sector and donor agencies to support Agrihouse Foundation to develop the AGRI-VILLAGE, which will be the first of its kind in the country.
11TH PRE-HARVEST EXHIBITIONS AND CONFERENCE ACTIVITIES
For her part, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, expressed immense gratitude for the land donation, emphasizing that, the location will certainly be used for the intended purpose, to bring more development in the area of agriculture to the people of the Northern region. She therefore used the opportunity to detail all training and capacity-building sessions that will take place at the 3-days leading market linkage event, from Tuesday, 19 October to Thursday, 21 October.
COMMODITY BREAKOUT SESSION: a session designed to educate farmers and agri-processors on topics including: Learn, unlearn and relearn processes in the agricultural value chain. Farming & Processing with Purpose – A Business perspective, and highlighting agribusiness Modules that have worked. Discussions will be lead by representatives from ADB, YARA, OCP AFRICA and UFCL. Participants would be drawn from various Farmer groups, Farmer based organizations, VSLAs, Aggregators, buyers, students, small holder and Commercial farmers.
FARMER-BUYER MATCHMAKING DIALOGUE: a session designed for networking, 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.
SHOWCASING MODULES THAT WORKED: this session looks at a case study of farmers who have been part of the pre-harvest event over the years. They share real business experiences and success stories of how the event has influenced them and their businesses, touching on areas including, Success stories with innovations, Success stories with farmers, and How & Why it worked.
EXHIBITIONS: throughout the 3-days an agri- exhibition show will be mounted and ongoing, to allow for buying and selling at affordable prices. Last year, even at the height of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,122 Exhibitors were recorded, including, ICT, Seeds, fertilizers, machinery, Development partners, ICT, transport, processors, packaging, Financial institutions, irrigation, NGOS, Government agencies, insurance companies. 70 Business Deals were made during the Exhibition, and more than GHS232, 420,745 were sold and bought.
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 Seed Companies, Fertilizer Companies, Irrigation Companies, Tractor and Equipment Companies 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.
GENDER WORKSHOP: the Pre-harvest event over the years has included gender issues stemming from the fact that “Gender makes business sense”. The gender workshop has explored ways of getting more women to be involved in all stages of the value chain, empower women and demystify myths which prevent women and men from accessing markets. Participants will including, women farmers, farmer groups, gender-based organizations, banks, and government representatives.
AGRI-YOUTH FORUM: this session seeks to empower young Ghanaians to take advantage of opportunities in the agricultural sector. Agrihouse upon taking over the pre-harvest, seeks to make the platform more attractive for young people, and this year’s agri-youth forum will host students and young agripreneurs from across the country. They will be exposed to innovative opportunities they can begin to explore in the value chain to encourage them scale-up on their agric-related initiatives when they leave the event. Expected participants will include, Students, Startups, NGO’s and Young farmers.
CORPORATE – GOVERNMENT – DEVELOPMENT PARTNER PANEL CONVERSATION: this session brings together executives from both government agencies and private corporate organizations to have conversations that highlight the theme of the event, and how it influences the country’s agricultural sector. They also highlight the programmes and initiatives their organizations are implementing to support growth and sustainability in the country’s agricultural sector. This year, it is expected that the development partner conversations will explore the three main dimensions of this year’s theme: Working Together to GROW KNOWLEDGE, to produce good food, provide good food and market good food to strengthen our communities. Working Together to DEEPEN FINANCING, for Farmers, Processors, Inputs, Equipment. Lastly, Working Together to GROW KNOWLEDGE, to produce good food, provide good food and market good food to strengthen our communities.
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.
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.