Successive governments have often reiterated its desire to see more stakeholder support for key sectors that drive the local economy.

The reason for this is not far-fetched – many agric enthusiasts share these sentiments with many of the view that Public, Private Partnership is a proven route that guarantees accelerated and inclusive development.

In the agric industry, the need for collaboration is even more crucial. The input of stakeholders adds impetus to government programmes and helps make implementation less a hassle.

Indeed, there are precedents that prove that the collective effort of government and the private sector is effective in achieving rapid results.

The monumental significance of agriculture and the chief role it plays in keeping our economy alight and alive means every effort geared towards improving agriculture must be a concern for all.

The local economy is akin to a boat with the government and private sector players aboard –it is the collective responsibility of both to pedal this boat towards prosperity-and agric presents a huge opportunity to do just this.

The 10th edition of the annual pre-harvest conference and exhibitions billed for the Northern Regional Capital, Tamale from 7th -8th October will once again provide stakeholders a unique opportunity to contribute even more to the cause of a better local agric industry.

Since inception a decade ago, the annual agriculture showpiece has enjoyed significant support from stakeholders. This year, the event will have the support of the European Union who have made a commitment to support the event through training facilitation and logistics.

At the launch of the 10th edition of the event recently. The European Union one of the most profound supporters of the agriculture industry made a commitment to support the event as through the facilitation of training modules for farmers.

Delivering an address during the Official launch of the 10th Annual Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference, Mr Pieter Smidt van de Gelder, Head of Political and Information Section European Union Delegation to Ghana lauded the initiative and expressed hope that the EU will be able to impact farmers by leveraging on the platform.

“The Pre-harvest event is a well-established and major initiative for the agriculture sector in Northern Ghana.

 It offers a valuable and stimulating platform to exchange views and experience, foster existing network and create new partnerships support agribusiness development and stimulate the growth of local economies. With its fair, it showcases private approaches and local agricultural products.

 This year will mark the 10th edition of the Pre-harvest event. It is an important anniversary, even more symbolic in the current pandemic. It is made possible thanks to the perseverance of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Agrihouse Foundation and with the support of various public and private partners.

The European Union is happy to contribute to this event through the EU Ghana Agriculture Programme EU GAP – A comprehensive programme promoting value chain development and providing critical infrastructure and financial support to private companies.”

He continued: “We believe the agriculture sector is essential to the Ghanaian economy and can actively contribute to the country’s economic development and job creation to enhance the attractiveness of the Northern regions and build their resilience.

 Agriculture has been crucial to the development of Europe, and is still an important sector in number of EU Member States, it is also one of the pillars of our cooperation partnerships throughout the world.

  Particularly in Ghana, this is reflected in our strong partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and our commitment to supporting agriculture through the investment of EUR 132 million under the current Cooperation Agreement with the government of Ghana. The EU is equally committed to support Ghana in this difficult period. We continue to work together with the government and with other partners to give an effective response to the COVID-19 crisis

And we strongly believe that it is more important than ever to make this event happen this year, again.

 I have no doubt that by working all together under the leadership of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and with the experience of the Agrihouse Foundation, the 10th annual Pre harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference will be a success. “He concluded.

The European Union, is partnering with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Agrihouse Foundation, Tamale Regional Coordinating Council and other private and international organizations to transform agriculture in the northern sector and provide long term market development opportunities for the less privileged farmers in that part of the country. 

Majority of Farmers, have over the years, faced problems in terms of marketing and price instability, as well as land degradation, soil fertility and biomass losses. That leads to new forms of income instability and thus makes farmers vulnerable to external shocks such as changing weather and climate conditions or price volatilities.

The partnership is thereof part of efforts by the European Union (EU), Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Agrihouse Foundation, Tamale Regional Coordinating Council and other organizations to strengthen the capacity of farmer-based organizations and aggregators of grains for them to play a key role as agricultural market actors in Ghana.

In addition to trainings sessions, the project will climax with a conferencing event, presentations, exhibitions, and market place for business-to-business meetings (Marketing opportunities and make deals on sales of produce and purchase of inputs from suppliers).

The partnership with EU will, further assist farmers and agri-businesses to expand their businesses before and after harvesting, and create an enabling environment for new partnerships to promote the growth of Ghana’s agricultural sector. Farmers can further learn about best practices to succeed in business. The project will also serve as a dynamic platform for commodity buyers and farmers to establish business relationships and discuss contracts for the harvest of their produce.

The annual event is deliberately held in the north of the country because of the huge agricultural potential of the northern zone where irrigation possibilities are largely untapped.

The EU is confident that the event will help in the rapid transforming of Ghana’s agricultural market development in the long term and help accelerate the transformation of agribusiness in Northern Ghana.

The event will also help promote mutually beneficial dialogue and forge business partnerships amongst value chain actors especially farmers, buyers, processors, transporters, input dealers, financial institutions and telecom companies and provide a platform for commodity buyers and farmers to establish business relationships and discuss contracts among others.

As inherited from the USAID ADVANCE, Pre-harvest Annual Conference and Exhibitions operates from a facilitative dimension through which it creates the platform on which smallholder farmers are linked to markets, finance, inputs, equipment, and information through larger commercial farmers and traders who have the capacity and incentive to invest in smallholder production. The aim being to build the capacity of smallholder farmers through these linkages and also increase the efficiency of their farm businesses through strategic knowledge impartation designed to achieve improved production and post-harvest handling best practices. 

Over the years, the programme has been of immense benefit to both the farmers and other agribusinesses in the agricultural value chains. It has served as a stimulating platform for match-making, exchange, agribusiness development, increased stakeholder linkages and growth in local economies through creation of expanded agribusiness opportunities. It has assisted to remove constraints of market access to farmers and agribusinesses, who require access to lucrative markets and economic opportunities to improve their livelihoods and those of their families.

The event is expected to attract over 3000 participants including farmers, traders, commodity brokers, input companies, machinery and equipment providers, transporters, financial institutions, development practitioners and government officials among others.  More than 100 exhibitors are expected.

Event activities include Exhibitions, Dialogue and Networking Sessions, Training, and Farm Tours. For the first time the scope of the event has been extended from the maize, rice and soybean value chains to include livestock and poultry.

Last year, The European Union, as part of its partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture finalised a 147 Million-Euro intervention to revolutionise agriculture in Northern Ghana, while it provides 40 million Euros to the Ministry of Finance in Budgetary Support.

The agricultural funding is intended to cover family farmers and businesses, who would be assisted to become organised actors with quality products to be distributed along the value chain.

The beneficiaries would embrace new agricultural practices to increase household incomes by producing commodities mostly for the local market to enhance food security.

Additionally, their practices would be geared towards leaving positive impacts on soil and water resources to mitigate the impact of climate change, which is already a problem in the Northern zone.

It was imperative, she said, to remain on track with the IMF programme to restore macroeconomic stability because an appropriate monetary policy would improve the credibility of the Central Bank, manage inflation and stabilise the cedi.

Since inception 10 years ago, the programme has been of immense benefit to both farmers and other agribusinesses in the agricultural value chains. It has served as a stimulating platform for match-making, exchange, agribusiness development, increased stakeholder linkages and growth in local economies through creation of expanded agribusiness opportunities. It has assisted to remove constraints of market access to farmers and agribusinesses, who require access to lucrative markets and economic opportunities to improve their livelihoods and those of their families.