Affordable and consistent supply of agricultural inputs, especially fertilizer, is among the major challenges most farmers in rural parts of Ghana grapple with.
Through a number of ongoing fertilizer subsidy interventions, the government continues to tackle this headache as much as it is able to, while calling on private sector organizations within the agricultural value chain to build collaborative efforts and partnerships that can help address the challenge.
Demeter Ghana Limited is one of such leading private agricultural inputs and specialists in Ghana, providing excellent fertilizers that are helping farmers across the country maximize their yields— and integrally, living up to the company’s vision of connecting small farmers in the industry to knowledge, resources and collective growth.
This year, as part of efforts towards further driving their vision, Demeter Ghana Limited, participated in this year’s 11th Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions event, organized by Agrihouse Foundation in Tamale, as both Corporate Sponsors and Exhibitors. Annually, the market linkage event 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.
“Pre -harvest event, annually, brings the needs of farmers to our doorsteps, which makes it easy for us to access of information,” the company’s agronomist and Sale person, Mr. Frank Thomas Osei-Tutu, said in an interview, about the event. “Our mission is to continuously attain an all year-round sustainable production through enhancing small-scale farmers towards the best use of land; while providing consumers and small-scale farmers a reliable market of high-quality farming products,” he noted.
According to him, the Pre-harvest platform affords Demeter Ghana Limited an engaging environment and extensive opportunities to accomplish the above missions, “we are able to speak to all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain in Ghana; to understand the situation on the ground and work with the stakeholders to find solutions,” he said.
Founded in 2014 as a two-man project, DGL have grown to be one of the primary agricultural services and products providers in West Africa. With an initial remit to combat inefficiencies in the Ghanaian agricultural sector arising from poor soil fertility, erosion and acidity, DGL began by distributing a small variety of fertilizer and soil acidity stabilizers.
Impacts of DGL over the Years
Since 2014, DGL’s product list has expanded to include a broad range of mainstream and specialist agricultural inputs designed to make farming in West Africa more diverse and more efficient. DGL’s major customers include the Ghanaian government and COCOBOD, the largest global Cocoa producer, as well as commercial farms across West Africa. Through supplying Ghana’s Planting for Food and Jobs programme, DLG’s products and services directly impact the lives of over 100,000 farmers in Ghana alone each year.
In 2019, a new division of the organization commenced, Demeter Fruit and Vegetables, borne out of 10 years’ experience operating in West Africa. Working with hundreds of thousands of farmers across Ghana, Kenya and Sierra Leone over the last decade to increase crop quality and yield has led naturally to another service; bringing high quality West African produce to the UK and European markets. Beginning as an experiment and a test of DGL’s international logistics capabilities, Demeter Fruit and Vegetables supplies quality produce to wholesalers across the UK and parts of Europe.
Through various training and capacity events, Demeter Ghana Limited has also trained cocoa farmers on importance of soil pH and its impact on cocoa production. The company has introduced Calciprill, a calcium product with proven effects in neutralising soil and therefore increasing yield. Also, biological inputs such as Eco T (Trichoderma) and Rizoliq soy inoculants, as well as state of the art soil testing equipment that provides detailed soil analysis and fertiliser recommendations.
DGL at 11th Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference
In line with the above impacts and a fervent zeal to do more, the company, at the recent Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions in Tamale, appointed Mr. Frank Thomas Osei-Tutu, the organizations Agronomist to lead a business-to-business and field demonstration sessions consisting of farmers looking to attract new business leads and improved best farming practices. Mr. Osei-Tutu therefore used the opportunity to reiterate the impacts of DGL over the years and introduce the company’s list of agric products and services to the farmers. The session was also used to gather feedback from the participants, focusing on their business needs, and how they can better respond to them. Demeter Ghana Limited offers products and services including Fertilizers, improved seeds, fruits and vegetables, and diverse farm services.
Fertilizers: Demeter distribute a wide array of fertilizers from warehouses in Accra and Tamale. They include Conventional Fertilizers such as NPK 15-15-15 / 25-10-10 / 23-10-5 / 20-10-10, Urea, Rock Phosphate, Triple Super Phosphate (TSP), Muriate Of Potash (MOP), Sulphate Of Potash (SOP), Potassium Nitrate, and Calcium Nitrate.
Specialized Products: the company also deals in specialized products that have been selected to help farmers deal with the specific challenges of agriculture in West Africa. Products like Micronised and Granulated Calcium Carbonate, which is a high-quality agricultural lime, specially formulated to be highly reactive. Also, ICL-Polysulphate: a new product from the UK, containing potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur and some other trace elements. Andermatt: Eco-T: A Trichoderma-based seed treatment, which protects against root pathogens and assists root development. Effective on most crops, including; rice, maize and soybean.
Enhanced Seeds: DGL have successfully supplied hundreds of tons of vegetable, maize and rice seeds under the Government of Ghana’s Food and Jobs Program from 2017 to 2019. Their variety of Vegetable Seeds are Tomato seeds (Petomech), Cucumber seeds (Pointsett), Cabbage (Karibo), Lettuce (Great lakes), Onion (Red creole), Pepper (Cayenne), and Carrot (Nantes). Their Maize and Rice Seeds include Hybrid maize, OPV maize and Jasmine rice.
Fruit and Vegetables: DGL further delivers high quality, fresh and exotic West African fruit and vegetables to the UK and European markets. They include Okra, Chilli Peppers: Green Bird Eye / Habanero, Turia, Maize, Cassava, Yams, Pumpkin, Shallot, Chayote, Aubergine and Mangos.
Farming Services: DGL leverages its extensive farming networks and expertise to provide consultancy and training services to Ghanaian farmers. DGL understands that introducing new crops or fertilizers onto your farm can seem challenging. Thus, the company offers specialist advice and training; ensuring farmers have the requisite skills and knowledge to reap the full benefits of our products.
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.