2022: Strengthening our Impacts on Farmers and Value Chain Actors

2022: Strengthening our Impacts on Farmers and Value Chain Actors

This year Agrihouse Foundation will be guided by the theme, “Our Year of Working Smart to Strengthen our Impact on Farmers and Value Chain Actors,” Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa Sarpong, has state.

According to the Executive Director, among other objectives, the theme is expected to guide Agrihouse to strengthen its existing relationships with its stakeholders; establish new relationships that will enable the team accomplish more socio-economic impacts within the country’s agricultural value chain, this year.

“Working smart also means doubling our efforts; using all available channels to better tell our impact stories; scale up in areas where we are lacking, while driving new initiatives and building bridges to close existing gabs within the agricultural sector,” she said.

Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa Sarpong

In the past seven years, Agrihouse Foundation has been at the forefront of promoting and changing the negative perceptions surrounding agriculture, through tactical programs and initiatives for students, women, farmers, farming associations, agribusinesses and the entire actors within the value chain.

The interventional projects and events focus on empowerment, grooming, leadership, best practices, and management training programs that lead to effecting positive changes in the minds, field, and economic status of stakeholders, and in the communities in which the organization operates. Agrihouse foundation further undertakes agri-focused exhibitions, trade promotions, research and communications, concept development and investor relations.

“The goal is to driving and shape the Agricultural conversations in Ghana and beyond. We have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the agric. sector, media overview and its dynamics,” Alberta noted in an interview.

She said the Foundation desires to create focused platforms, dedicated to increasing innovation, communication, advocacy, and initiate highly impactful agriculture projects that cut across all sex and acts: men, women, students, farmers, governments.

“The Foundation works in close collaboration with its sister company, Agrihouse Communications,” she revealed, “We derive satisfaction in making agriculture lively, exciting and competitive. Our dedication to agriculture is our fuel and we are excited to see people involved and committed to the projects we bring to life,” she said. The team at Agrihouse Foundation, with a combined experience of thirty years, is passionate about initiating and driving projects that address issues and challenges in the agriculture sector. These projects include the following:

Artboard 1 copy 2

Agricultural Students’ Career Guidance & Mentorship Dialogue Bootcamp (AG-STUD): this practical beginner Agribusiness initiative is designed to develop agric students, beginner agribusinesses and start- up’ expertise, while exposing them to the dynamics of the market, through education and leadership programs essential for achieving success in agriculture and agribusiness. In the past four years, AG-STUD-AFRICA, has benefitted over 1000 agribusiness students and beginner agribusinesses develop strong and bankable business plans. The bootcamp has empowered over 500 students from 30 different schools have with entrepreneurship skills, and supported them with start-up capital to start their agri-businesses; about 250 beginner agribusinesses have been established by students who have participated in AG-STUD. This year, AG-STUD is expected to come off from March 28 to April 1.

Artboard 1 copy 2

Livestock Poultry & Fisheries Trade Show (LiPF): The tradeshow aims to ensure all facets of the agricultural sector, including animal agricultural production, receive equal attention and resources. The annual event offers participants the opportunity to exhibit their products and services, engage in panel discussions and dialogues and go through training sessions, such as Livestock Training Session • Piggery Training Session• Rabbit Training Session • Cattle Training Session • Fisheries & Aquaculture Training Session • Grasscutters Training Session • Snail Training Session. Since the first edition, LiPF has engaged over 50,000 sub holder farmers with a significant percentage of them expressing interest in animal agriculture. Feedback received from the previous editions reveal that 87% of participants are very impressed with the event and want more training in poultry, piggery, rabbit, cattle, and piggery farm; 90% say that LiPF is a perfect introductory training platform for people who want to venture in animal agricultural production. This year, the two-day event has been scheduled to come off from May 5 to May 6.

Artboard 1 copy 2

Women in Food and Agricultural Leadership Forum (WOFAGRIC) and Gold in the Soil Awards: this project was designed and first implemented in 2019 by Agrihouse to enable women develop their agricultural skills, motivate, mentor and build upon their capabilities to becoming independent. WOFAGRIC, over the past years has helped shape and build more professionals in the field of agriculture, importantly, has been a source of women empowerment. The two-part project has over the years acknowledged the industriousness of women in agriculture by awarding them through the Gold in the Soil Awards. This awards scheme goes a long run to motivate other women to venture into the fields of agriculture business. In 2019, almost a quarter of the nominees for the Gold in the Soil Awards made entries into the National Best Farmers Award Scheme at district, regional and national levels.

About 7 of them won laurels at the district and regional levels whist 2 of them picked up awards at the National awards.  Over 25% of participants are now thriving as agribusiness owners because of the agribusiness management training they receive during the events. Most of the women have taken up leadership roles within their within their communities and regions, as aggregators, NGO Founders, Women Farmer Organization leaders, among others. In 2021, about 50% of women farmers recorded at the event manage 10 to 65 acres of farmland, and are between the ages 25-65years, with a number of them being women farmers with a physical disability. This year, WOFAGRIC and Gold in the Soil Awards is scheduled to come off from June 22 to June 23.

Artboard 1 copy 2

Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions: the Annual Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions is the only project that was handed down to Agrihouse Foundation by USAID, as part of the organizations exiting strategy. The event has become one of the leading and highly impactful interventional market linkage events on the Ghanaian Agribusiness calendar, providing long-term market development opportunities for farmers and agribusinesses. The award-winning market-linkage platform promotes business partnerships among value chain actors, especially farmers, buyers, processors, government, Development partners, transporters, input dealers, civil society, equipment dealers, financial institutions, telecom companies and policy makers.

Pre-harvest culminates with conferencing events, presentations, exhibitions and market place for business-to-business meeting. It also serves as a dynamic platform for farmers to negotiate and seal contracts, and seeks to strengthen the capacity of Farmer Based Organizations (FBO’s), Aggregators, Processors and value chain actors for them to play a key role as agricultural market actors. It further assists farmers and agribusinesses to expand their businesses before and after harvesting. The three-day event will come off from October 5 to October 7.

Artboard 1 copy 2

1 household, 1 Garden Initiative (1h,1g): The 1 household, 1 garden is an initiative collaterally intended to further scaleup government’s ongoing efforts to support families and communities to be more self-reliant, while its core objective is to provide Ghanaians a simple and easily accessible source of augmenting their daily food need without often stepping out beyond their homes. The 1household, 1 garden initiative essentially aims at triggering a wave of self-sufficiency and enhanced nutrition through the ignition of interest in home gardening, in the wake of COVID-19, to mitigate the effects of food accessibility. The hope is this national home gardening agenda will ensure a liberal supply of quality food to Ghanaians, while waiting for Covid-19 to   decline. Thus, Agrihouse assists households set up a home vegetable garden, provide training, seedlings of 12 assorted vegetables, fertilizers and gardening tools, and also provide some level of supervision to interested households.

Artboard 1 copy 2

International Farmers and Agribusiness Resilience and Sustainability Convention (INTAFAC): INTAFAC seeks to bring together Farmers and the members of the Agribusiness sector to influence transformation; with focus on public-private partnerships, investment opportunities, significantly raise the bar and create an action-driven blueprint towards further agricultural development in the country. INTAFAC will set a stage for open and informed dissuasions and debates on major social, human and environmental obstacles that hinders the development of a buoyant Agri-economic, market resilience and self-sustainable Agri- institution.

The convention will engage Agri-leaders, players and experts from government; Farmer based Organizations, development partners, Finance, businesses, technology, academia and actors. They will share their knowledge and expertise on how the agricultural sector in Ghana can begin to focus, develop and adopt strategies, policies, and techniques, that will positively impact and scale up efforts, in building a sustainable, commercially viable and all-inclusive Agricultural sector. The event is expected to come off in March.

The Agri-Woman Marketplace: the marketplace seeks to support women Agribusinesses recover, grow and promote their farm produce, products and services. It provides free exhibitions and marketing space for the women to sell and promote their products and services, whiles opening up their access to markets. Fully sponsored by Agrihouse Foundation, the initiative empowers women led agribusinesses, as a way of helping them to recover fully from the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 200 women farmers and women-led agribusinesses have so far benefited from the agri-woman marketplace event, which also offers opportunity for knowledge sharing and capacity-building dialogues. The event has created networking opportunities for agri-women in areas such as farming, processing, packaging, marketing, IT service providers among others. This has led to increase in their sales, with a number of them securing major deals with local and international companies that purchase raw and semi-processed agricultural produce. The event is expected to resume at the forecourts of Agrihouse Foundation, in March, this year.

Artboard 1 copy 2

AgriWatchgh News Portal and Mobile App: AgriWatchgh: AgriWatchgh is a agric-focused news portal and a bi-weekly newsletter platform of Agrihouse Foundation that updates stakeholders with agricultural news, issues, and trends regionally, nationally and globally. You can access to relevant and timely agric news at www.agriwatchgh.com. AgriWatchgh News Portal was initiated in the early months of 2019, at the height of the COVID-19 epidemic, when the Foundation noticed the dire socio-economic implications the spread of the virus was having on the agricultural sector, in the country and beyond. A year down the line, AgriWatchgh New Portal has become a fast growing, prominent news website, among Ghanaians and international stakeholders.

AgriWatch News App: The fast growing visibility and general acceptance of AgriWatch News Portal necessitated the design and implementation of the mobile news App, ‘AgriWatch News App’ makes accessing news on ‘AgricWatch News Portal,’ easier and more convenient for readers. The mobile ‘AgriWatch News App.’ is on the Google Play Store. With these relevant and trustworthy news platforms, the Foundation seeks to continue expanding it communications portfolio and make agriculture-related news more related, exciting and friendly to all Ghanaians and agri-stakeholders across the globe.

Agrihouse Communications

This is the sister company of Agrihouse Foundation, with personnel’s who have vast knowledge in Ghana’s agric sector. This background makes Agrihouse Communications preferred corporate organization serving the agric sector as well as for the entire sectoral stakeholders. With our practical and experiential Public Relations expertise, Media Relations and proven Events Management, our company remains high on the list in this special niche. Agri-comms provides a broad range of communication service packages designed to deliver the best communication derived successes to our clients, ranging from media relations, social media or digital communication, public relations, new media and result oriented events.

Our Gratitude to Sponsors, Partners and Beneficiaries

Expressing her gratitude, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa Sarpong, noted that Agrihouse Foundation has never been alone on this journey of driving social and economic impacts and sustainability within the country’s agricultural sector. She therefore extended her immense gratitude to all corporate organizations and sponsors, organizing partners and collaborating institutions, stakeholders and beneficiaries who have for years committed to the growth and sustainability of the interventional initiatives designed and implemented by Agrious Foundation. “This year we are going to work smarter,” she reiterated, “the team is set to scale up on our initiatives to make more impacts in the lives of farmers and all other actors within the value chain.”

Agrihouse Calls for More Value Chain Collaborations at 11th Pre-harvest

Agrihouse Calls for More Value Chain Collaborations at 11th Pre-harvest

Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa

Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa has reiterated the need for improved agri-financing, knowledge sharing, and building resilience within the country’s agric sector.

She said, such efforts, when invested in and scaled up would enable the creation and sustainability of an effective agri-foods market, that will serve the country efficiently, beyond the pandemic.

In light of this year’s theme for the 3-days event, “Working Together to Improve Market Channels for Agri-foods Beyond the Pandemic,” she has urged government and private stockholders within the sector to invest in value chain partnerships that would propel sustained development within the value chain.

“The pandemic has taught us the need for preparedness. And now is the time for all us to work together, both private and public stakeholders, to scale-up value chain initiatives like this one— the Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions,  as a modern module for the continuous growth and transformation of market systems for Agri-foods,” she said.

 She further called for more support for the establishment of the ‘Agrihouse Agri-Village,’ which she said, would be a home for hundreds of agribusinesses in the country, whiles supporting to fully commercializing the sector.

The venue, she explained, would house different type of farm sites; Demonstration Centers Conference and Workshop halls, Restrooms, Exhibition stores for Agric Companies, Training and Recreational Centers, Storage and Processing Centers, Production rooms, and Laboratories and Research Centers.

“We are committed to this vision at Agrihouse Foundation, and I will therefore use this opportunity to call on our sponsors, corporate bodies, government and collaborating agencies, financial institutions, media partners, and development partners to stand boldly with us in these times, to commit and invest in this vision a reality,” she said.

Ms. Akosa made these comments at the recent 3-days 11th Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions, organized by Agrihouse Foundation, in Tamale, in the Northern from Tuesday, 19 October to Thursday, 21 October.

 This year’s event was in collaboration with the Northern Regional Coordinating Council – NRCC, and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).

Sponsors of the event were YARA, Ecobank Ghana PLC, World Food Programme, ADB-Agricultural Development Bank, GIZ MOAP, Demeter Ghana Limited, United Fertilizers Company Limited (UFCL), and HD PLUS.

Northern Regional Minister, hon. Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu

For his part, the Northern Regional Minister, hon. Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu, noted that although agriculture accounts for over 74% of northern Ghana’s employment, the rich and diverse agricultural potential of the region was largely untapped.

“It is against this background that, we here in the north, appreciating the measurable gains we are seeing in our region here in the north since the advent of the Pre-Harvest event” he underscored.

He said the platform has over the years, become an avenue that pulls together the largest number of agricultural value chain actors and agribusinesses in Ghana; consequently, helping farmers and agribusinesses to access new market opportunities, increase their knowledge and improved their higher yields annually.

“Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I should say that it has become rightly imperative that we all Work together to support the Preharvest event platform. That is the only practical way of ensuring that, ultimately, the desired growth and transformation of Ghana’s Northern Regions’ agricultural sector would be achieved,” he noted.

The West African Regional Director of YARA, Mr. Danquah Addo Yobo, for his part reiterated YARA’s commitment to the country’s agric sector, especially, to agricultural activities and farmers in the Northern regions of the country.

He revealed YARA has launched a new Mobile App, called “Farm Go,” to help farmers predict weather conditions accurately; which will enable them plan their farming activities, maximize their time to ensure more productivity.

“When we launched it this year, we were expecting that we will have about 2,500 downloads to end the year and then build up from there; today we have about 10, 000 farmers that have downloaded the app. We are very encouraged and it is our show of support,” he said.

He said YARA has in this year, also launched the ‘Sustainable Soya beans Production in Northern Ghana,’ Project, which underscores the importance of soya production in the Northern region; how it influences food security and the regions poultry sector.

“It is a four year project being supported by NORAD, a Norwegian fund. We expect that in the four years, we will reach at least a 100, 000 soya farmers. It is a value chain approach, so we are working with aggregators, processors, and the poultry industry. Just as we have been able to build the pre-harvest project we Agrihouse, we want to build the project that will create sustainability after the four years,” he said.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Managing Director of Ecobank Ghana, Mr. Dan Sarkey, noted that even in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the country’s agricultural sector has proven very resilient, by demonstrating a historic highest cocoa production last year.

He said Ecobank recognizes the importance of agriculture to the country’s economy, and that is why, “we continue to strengthen and grow our agribusiness portfolio as a means to positively impact our communities in job creation and increased agricultural productivity,” he stressed.

In light of this, he said Ecobank has setup the agribusiness desk under the commercial banking division of the bank. He said Ecobank has further financed the Wenchi and Tain Maize Farmers Federation (WTMFF), a farmer-based organization made up of 61 FBO’s with membership of 1,800 out of which 45 percent are women, to cultivate 1970 acres of maize to meet supply contract of the Yedent Group of Companies.

“Ecobank’s financing also directly impacted input suppliers of weedicides, pesticides, fertilizers, tractors and all the needed agricultural implements for farming,” he added.

He urged farmers and all other value chain stakeholders at the opening ceremony of the 11th Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions, to embrace Ecobank’s digital products such as Ecobank Mobile, Ecobank Paywith, Ecobank online, and Ecobank OmniLite, which are available for collections, transfers and payments, which constitute the frequently used banking activities of farmers.

A representative of Agricultural Development Bank, Mr. Fredrick Yaw Opoku, noted that ADB’s commitment to the agricultural sector remains unmatched, especially, since 2017 when a new board and management team was put in place with the mandate to refocus the core direction of agricultural financing.

“We launched the Broiler Value Chain Programme in 2020 with an estimated amount of 500 million Ghana cedis, seeking to revitalize the broiler subsector and to put an end to the huge foreign exchange spent on yearly basis to import poultry into the country,” he revealed.

He said the bank continues to increase its lending to the agricultural sector, with the aim of meeting the strategic objective of increasing the share of agricultural loans to at least 50 percent of the total loan portfolio.

The Chief of Bamvim Traditional Area, Bamvim-Lana, Alhaji Mahama Abdulai ll, for his part noted that, o ver the last ten years, the Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibition and Conference has become one of the key events that has supported the growth and development of Agriculture in Northern Ghana.

He said the platform has been very consistent annually, growing strong and linking farmers to Agro Input dealers, Agricultural machinery and equipment dealers, Aggregators and farm produce buyers.

“I can confidently and unequivocally state that the Pre-Harvest Conference and Exhibition is one of the leading if not the leading agricultural conferences and market platforms in Ghana,” he said.

For her part, the Northern Regional Director of Agriculture, Hajia Hawa Musah, described this year’s theme as time and appropriate, considering the negative impacts the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on all sectors of the national economy, the agric sector included.

“However I want to assure you that there is no cause for alarm. We pray for more showers of rain to record a bumper harvest,” she added.

She said even though the region has inadequate machinery and equipment for timely harvesting, now is the time for government and private stakeholders in the agric sector to invest in machinery to help reduces effects like post-harvest losses.  

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 demonstrations 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.