Honourable Ministers of State,
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Yara Ghana welcomes you to the 8th Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference Event. We are honoured by your presence at this all important event, which we have been a key partner of for some years now.
Knowing how possible it is to transform agriculture in Ghana, sometimes one is sad about the state of agriculture in Ghana after 61 years of independence. Sad, not because there hasn’t been any progress, but the progress made after so many years, is not good enough. Many government programs by different governments and over decades have not produced the transformational results expected. What have been the lessons? How are they being addressed to ensure we can have the agricultural transformation we all hope for as a country? The ongoing Planting for Food & Jobs program by the Ministry of Food & Agriculture has the potential to drive that transformation with private sector. According to the Ghana Statistical Service data, the agriculture sector has grown by 8.4% in 2017 – this is the highest growth recorded in 10 years. The momentum is now and all stakeholders must contribute to a transformation of the sector.
The average maize yield per hectare for Ghana is at 2.05t/ha. With Yara fertilizers and Yara Crop Nutrition solutions, we have been able to show on farmer demonstration fields managed by the farmer, maize yields of 6t/ha plus. We have had many demonstration fields (on farmer’s own fields) around the country on different crops, some in collaboration with USAID ADVANCE project, Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MoFA), Crop Research Institute (CRI), Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) etc, where results show that it is possible to substantially increase the national production and make the farmer more profitable without necessarily increasing the farmland areas.
The Yara fertilizers and crop nutrition solutions indeed are able to deliver high productivity and profitability for the farmer, which is essential for agriculture value chain partnerships to be sustainable, creating opportunities and business for other partners in the entire agriculture value chain such as Input suppliers, farmers, marketers, manufacturers, traders, consumers, etc. The transformation we talk about is possible. From the cost benefit analysis on the many demonstration fields, the farmer can indeed be made more profitable.
Yara has a long term commitment to Ghana, and is keen on strengthening its operations in Ghana to be a hub to some West Africa countries. Northern Ghana would be an interesting hub for businesses to neighbouring Burkina Faso and northern parts of Togo for instance, creating jobs to transform the agriculture value chain in Northern Ghana. Is Ghana indeed positioning itself to be a successful hub to the sub-region? We have had the potential for decades. The transformation must start now!!
I challenge Ghana, and especially players in the agricultural value chain not to re-invent the wheel. It is possible if we can build the right partnerships and support at all levels towards transforming the agricultural sector.
I urge all present to take an active part in the programs lined up over the next days. Have the mind set to use this opportunity to create something beneficial for the transformation of agriculture in this beautiful region. Build value chain partnerships that create value and growth in the sector.
The Northern regions have been the nation’s food basket for years. Yet about USD2billion is spent on food imports annually into Ghana. We cannot continue to fail Ghana. We cannot fail this region. The transformation is possible.
Once again, I welcome you to this 8th Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference Event.
Yara, Knowledge Grows.
God bless our homeland Ghana.