Agrihouse Foundation is set to hold the 12th edition of annual Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions in the Northern region, on the theme, “Connecting the Unconnected: the Farmer-the- Buyer and the Market.”

The three (3) day most important Farmer to Buyer and Agribusiness market linkage event is scheduled to take place from Tuesday, October 25 to Thursday, October 27, at the Aliu Mamaha Sports Stadium, in Tamale, whiles the practical training and demonstration sessions, take place at the Agrihouse Agri-Village Training, Apprenticeship and Demonstration Centre, in Bamvim.

Annually, the event brings together over three thousand (3000)  Farmers of Maize, rice, soyabean, sorghum, cowpea, groundnut, cashew, vegetables, Livestock and value chain actors within the agricultural sector, to discuss the production demands, pricing, innovative approaches to boosting farm yields and introduce new Agric Technologies, for development and advancement.

The Preharvest platform, also directly allows, over 70% of participants, take decisive and influential roles, in purchasing of products, inputs and equipment, through the Exhibitions that run alongside, the three (3) day event.

Ahead of this year’s 12th edition, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa has noted the platform has generated an estimated 5 billion USD of businesses for agribusinesses and value chain actors in the last eleven (11) years.

She said, over three thousand (3000) participants were recorded last year; resulting in a fifteen percent (15%) increase in productivity among various farmer groups, and value chain actors who patronized the event.

Between 2017 to 2021, the four (4) key areas of the event; Exhibitions, Farmer-to-Buyer Matchmaking, Training and Capacity Building and Field Demonstrations, have seen about 25 to 75 percent increase in growth and sales among equipment and machinery dealers, financial institutions, ICT and telecommunication companies, she added.

Farmer based organizations have established relationships with aggregators, while agro-processors have purchased over 14,000 MT of soybean and 31,000 MT of maize from farmers.

“In 2019, we recorded 70 business deals during the Exhibitions, which resulted in about GHS32, 420, 745, worth of sales, among input dealers, machinery and equipment dealers,” she revealed.

This year, amidst the global challenges, the Exhibitions are still expected to record a marginable increase. Last year recorded 118 exhibitors consisting of Farmer groups, Input, Seed Dealers, Agric Marketing Experts, and Financial Institutions. Others included Aggregators, Brand Specialists, Transporters, Equipment and Machinery Companies, Processing and Packaging Companies, Development and Donor Partners, Corporate Institutions, Civil Society and Government Agencies.

The Preharvest activity line-up, have also increased to include the Farmer To Farmer Apprenticeship Session, which is specifically designed as a Technical and practical, further learning opportunity; where experienced field representatives will run demonstrative training sessions for  farmers, farmer  groups, including  PWDs and other women-led groups. “Through this new module, we are anticipating that both local and commercial farmers will develop and strengthen their capacities, to practically embrace and manage machines, equipment and agri farm inputs that will enhance their productivity and market growth,” Ms. Akosa said.

The Ten (10) acre Agrihouse Foundation Agri-Village Training, Apprenticeship and Demonstration Centre in Bamvim will host the series of technical and demonstration sessions that will take place; while the Aliu Mahama sports Stadium in Tamale, will be the grounds for the grand Exhibition and Capacity building sessions.

Over one two hundred and twelve (212) FBO leaders, Farm Associations, outgrowers of rice, soyabean, sorghum, maize and vegetables are expected to participate in the sessions; which in various previous editions have been led by companies including, Yara Ghana, GIZ, Demeter, UCFL, TECAS, Farm more Company Ltd/N-Drip Irrigation, among others.

Other capacity building sessions and activities, that will be ongoing, during the three(3) day event, includes the Commodity Breakout session, which is more of a market place,  where farmers of various commodities, including Maize, rice, millet, sorghum, soyabeans, cowpea, yaw and tubers, vegetables, groundnut, cowpeas, cashew, shea, among others, meet in groups.  Facilitators lead the discussions, through training, capacity building sessions and role plays, production, produce contract deals and negotiations. They also discuss the expected market demands, expected market pricing and markets accessibility.

The Farmer–Buyer Matchmaking Dialogue focuses on Buyers and Farmers.

It is the room where relationships are established, between the two parties, negotiations and contract signing normally happen during this session.

The farmer to buyer session, has over the years, played a leading role, in helping buyers purchase premium commodities at competitive prices and afforded farmers opportunity to have sustainable markets beyond the year event.

Lead sponsor for the event, Yara Ghana, is calling on   more value chain actors and agribusiness in the country to support the upcoming event, while reiterating the need for more digitization in the agricultural sector, as the paramount way to achieve the theme for this year’s event. The West Africa Regional Director of Yara International, solutions, Mr. Danquah Addo-Yobo said, Yara has rolled out a number of digital tools and innovative systems this year, which will be shared with participants as part of the training and capacity building sessions they will be leading.

GIZ-MOAP’s Inclusive Business Models Expert, Mr. Rueben Binpori, reiterated GIZ-MOAP’s technical and financial support towards Pre-harvest, and outlined a number of agric-related projects GIZ-MOAP through the funding of the European Union in Ghana, is implementing across the country to support value chain actors.

Other sponsors of the 12th Preharvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference event include Demeter, Ecobank and ADB, with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Northern Regional Coordinating Council, as organizing Partners.