Agriculture remains a significant contributor to the Ghanaian economy despite receding fortunes in recent times.
A decade ago in 2009, agriculture contributed 31.8 per cent to Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP). But a myriad of issues has ensured that a consistent positive performance by the sector has remained far-fetched.
While the snail-paced attempt at mechanized farming is largely blamed for the inconsistent growth pattern of the agric sector, the use of agro input in the right quantities and proportions has recently come to the fore as a chief strategy that has the potential to rapidly boost local agriculture.
It is in this vain that interventions by multinational institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government have recently increased calls to farmers to take advantage of potent agrochemical products to improve productivity and secure yield.
Though Ghana is considered a fertile business space for several agrochemical input firms, there are a handful of such firms who are conspicuous leaders with a track record of excellence and innovation.
One of such stand-out firms is YARA Ghana Limited. Yara is a world–renowned firm with a longstanding reputation in the production and distribution of mineral fertilizer.
Since venturing into Ghana over a decade ago, Yara has established itself as a leader in the formulation and supply of high quality products for various crop areas such as cereals, vegetables, cocoa, etc.
The company has an expansive nationwide distribution network, which affords her the leverage of offering technical support for farmers signed onto its Yara “Crop Nutrition solutions” initiative.
With an institutional policy that partly hinges on strategic expansion, the company recently demonstrated its resolve to strengthen its base in Ghana by inaugurating a state-of –the-art fertiliser terminal and blending facility in Tema.
The $15 million investment, by Yara International ASA has a storage capacity of over 50,000 tonnes and a blending and bagging production rate of more than 100 tonnes per hour. The company hopes the facility would facilitate the ready supply and availability of premium crop nutrition solutions to Ghanaian farmers, enable increased productivity and significantly improve livelihoods.
Mr Terje Knusten, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Yara International ASA, stated that the investment in a terminal was a commitment by Yara to support Ghana’s agricultural growth and help in improving the livelihood of farmers in the country.
He explained that the company has deployed its agronomist across the country to work with farmers to ensure agricultural solutions were tailored to their requirements.
He identified Ghana as the designated hub of the company’s operations within the West-African region, adding that the company would continue to improve its capacity to supply fertilizer to other West African countries in the years ahead.
”This investment (Yara’s new terminal) represents growth, progress and not least: Optimism. It also represents a clear commitment by Yara to Ghana and to Ghanaian agriculture.
Agriculture plays a crucial part in the economic development in Ghana, and will play an even bigger role going forward. This terminal gives us more capacity to support the government in Ghana to improve farming, among others via the Planting for Food & Jobs Program.
Agriculture all over the world has to improve. Producing more food but with less resources. Using less land. And also generating less waste.
Yara is only one part of the puzzle. The challenges facing all of us cannot be solved by one player alone.”
“We see ourselves as partners. Both with the farmers and the wider agricultural sector. That is why we have created a farmer centric model.
We as Yara focus not only on bringing quality fertilizers to Ghana, but also to bring crop nutrition knowledge that we share throughout the value chain. This is why our tagline is Knowledge Grows.
We are with agronomists on the ground. Working close with the farmer, making sure the nutrient solutions are balanced, and tailored to the specific crop requirements.
If we improve the income of the smallholder farmer, we will also create value for the farming community and society at large and ultimately for ourselves. This is a win-win-win situation.
This new terminal will for sure bring efficiency and quality to our operations. So that we can serve the market in an even better way.”
He spoke further on the company’s vision for more impact:” Yara is working with more than 300 retailers and distributors across all of Ghana.
These are typically locally owned businesses; I believe they will benefit significantly from the improved operations. However, this new terminal has impact beyond Ghana. It has the capacity to serve as a hub for other countries in West Africa.
In fact we recently made Ghana our regional hub for our operations in West Africa. From being a pioneer in the industry back then we have developed to a global leader present on all continents, with offices in more than 60 markets around the world and selling our products to more than 160 countries.
Our Mission is to responsibly feed the world and protect the planet. We have been present in Africa for more than 50 years. We have seen growth,
But even more: we see potential. With quality products, agronomic knowledge and the right tools, food production can multiply.
An equally important part of the puzzle is infrastructure. Making it possible to get the right input to the farmer, and the produce back out to the market. This terminal improves the logistics operations, and I want to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone that has been involved in making it a reality.” He concluded.
In his own remarks, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, noted that the opening of the terminal would reduce turnaround time at the port since bulk materials would not be bagged at the port, leading to an increase in Yara’s production and storage capacity.
He said the fertilizer terminal was critical to the industrialisation agenda of the country as it involved the opening of employment opportunities and bridging the gap between the production and demand for fertilizer locally.
Underlining the industrialisation agenda, the Deputy Minister stated, was the growth of agriculture which would provide raw materials for production and export.
He said the presence of Yara and its increase and modern agricultural inputs and services, was necessary to help push agriculture to be able to feed the industries that would be realised under the 1D1F programme.
Under the Planting for Food and Jobs programme, Dr Sagri Bambangi, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, said government plans to subsidise 460,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser in 2019 for farmers.
He said as part of plans to ensure all-year round farming, the Kpone irrigation scheme and other schemes across the country, were being expanded and modernised to make water available for irrigation purposes for farmers.
He pledged government’s commitment to continually partner with Yara to increase production and consequently improve the livelihoods of farmers across the country.
Inspired by a central goal that is hinged on a desire to be a global leader in sustainable agriculture and environmental solutions, the company operates with a wider pool of organizational aspirations, which include being environmentally responsible, and responding to major global challenges, particularly those that directly affect the companies farmer-clients.
Having recently commemorated the firm’s tenth year anniversary since venturing into Ghana, Yara looks poised for greater things, even as its management seeks increased successes on diverse frontiers.