Three Senators from the State of Nebraska, United States of America, and an International consultant, are set to arrive in Ghana on Sunday, November 13, 2022, for a 5-day visit.
Their visit is aimed at working and developing business relations between Ghana and the State of Nebraska, with a focus on Agriculture, Agro Processing, Energy, Lands and Natural Resources.
In a press release issued by Agrihouse Foundation, the co-host of the visiting senators, described the visit as one that will create the much desired economic path opening up and deepening opportunities between Ghana and the State of Nebraska, especially for actors in the Livestock and Agro Processing sub-sectors.
The visiting Senators are upbeat about the immense mutually beneficial fallouts from their visit as they anticipate there will be more to learn about the Investment and Development opportunities in Ghana, especially through expected interactions with both the Public and the Private sectors’ key players, as well as through field trips for first-hand experience.
The visiting delegation of Senators include the twenty-five years old Julie Slama, who happens to be the youngest woman serving in the State of Nebraska.
Miss Slama made waves on the internet in early April 2022, when she took to the Nebraska senate floor to support the Human Life Protection Act. Earlier in the year, she had also introduced the Heartbeat bill, a bill to ban abortion after a baby’s heartbeat is detected. Her bills on agriculture, rural economic development, and education passed support.
She presently serves on several Executive Boards in Nebraska, including the Judiciary Committee, Retirement Committee, Banking, Commerce, and the Insurance Committee; and she is very passionate about causes and issues in the Health and Agriculture sectors.
Leading the delegation is former Senator Ken Schilz who served for eight years as a Nebraska State Senator representing ten counties in western Nebraska. He was elected Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committees and served on the Banking, Commerce, Insurance, Business, Labor, Education, and General Affairs Committees. He is a Strategist who has, over the years, worked with various companies to create relationships with communities and other entities to further Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Job Growth within the State.
Before serving in the Legislature, Schilz managed a 20,000 herd feed yard for 15 years. Presently with Nebraska Strategies, the former Senator is keen on sharing and leveraging on his experience to develop and strengthen Investment, Impact Projects, especially in Agro Processing and Value Addition.
Kofi Amoabin, the non-Senator amongst the visiting group, is an International Consultant on Political Affairs and International Trade. Amoabin has assisted many US companies to do business in Africa, just as he has similarly assisted sub-Saharan entities to do business in the U.S.
Amoabin’s role as a consultant encompasses projects in the US, Germany, UK, Ghana, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Cameroon, Uganda and others.
The successful Consultant who once served as an election judge in Will County, Illinois since 2008 has, also, between 2013 and 2014, worked as News Reporter in Ghana when the candidate Nana Akufo-Addo challenged Ghana’s 2012 Presidential Elections.
Finally, Senator Andrew La Grone who represented Nebraska’s 49th Legislative District where he served as the Vice Chair of the Government, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee, championing Voter ID and Election Integrity Legislation.
Senator La Grone also led a filibuster that secured a vote on the largest property tax cut package in the State history. Prior to serving in the Legislature, Andrew served as the Legal Counsel for the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee from 2016-2019, and on the Washington, D.C. staff of Congressman Adrian Smith. He graduated from the University Of Nebraska College Of Law with High Distinction in 2015, running his own Law Firm.
The leader of the eminent delegation, Senator Schilz, says that whilst in Ghana, they will also jointly launch, with Agrihouse Foundation, the “Nebraska-Ghana AgriValue Addition Acceleration & Development Conference” – NEGRI-VAD, an annual event, which aims to develop business markets amongst Ghanaian Value Chain Actors and businesses in Nebraska, United States of America.
“We are all excited about coming to Ghana and are confident that, by the end of our five (5) days visit, we should have been able to have met the right people, had a better understanding of the respective sectors and laid the grounds for the beginning of a Ghana- Nebraska sustainable relations,” he concluded.
Agrihouse Foundation has opened its 12th annual pre-harvest agribusiness exhibition and conference to connect people involved in agricultural value chains.
The event, currently underway is taking place at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium in Tamale with the aim of encouraging business partnerships.
It is in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), and Northern Regional Coordinating Council, with sponsorship from from Yara Ghana, Ecobank, Agricultural Development Bank and GIZ.
The exhibition has the theme: “Connecting the Unconnected – The Farmer, the Buyer and the Market”.
It featured over 100 dealers who exhibited agrochemicals, seeds and farm machinery and inputs.
The three-day event includes commodity break-out sessions for farmers, processors and other participating categories to receive capacity building training.
Miss Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, in her welcome address, said over the years, Agrihouse through the exhibition platform had linked small scale enterprises to buyers at local and international levels.
She said the platform had connected many agriculture value chain actors, generated substantial revenue, and urged participants to use the opportunity to build long lasting relationships with other businesses.
Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, said the Ministry acknowledged that pre-harvest conferences over the years had provided unique platforms for effective communication of plans and programmes.
He said agribusiness had also contributed to the country’s agricultural system, by eliminating gender biases, insecurity and promoting seasonal farming that had transformed and given practical meaning to agriculture in the country.
He stated that MoFA, since 2017, had set out strategic initiatives such as the Planting for Food and Jobs to tackle the fundamentals of agriculture.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Regional Minister, commended Agrihouse Foundation for sustaining the event that connected agricultural stakeholders in the region.
He described the theme as apt and said poor market access during bumper harvest was becoming a major challenge militating against farmers in the country, adding that farmers would be disconnected from their markets if the situation persisted.
He urged stakeholders to invest in improving the state of market channels within the agricultural sector to halt challenges such as post-harvest losses, poor pricing and transportation issues.
Mr Danquah Addo-Yobo, West Africa Regional Director of Yara International encouraged participants to pursue opportunities and take advantage of Yara’s initiatives to grow their businesses.
He noted that as part of the Yara Grow Ghana initiative, the organisation would donate 300 bags of fertilizer each, to women in the Saint Cecilia Cooperative and the Northern Widows Association by the close of the event.
A pre-harvest agribusiness conference and exhibition, on the theme: “Connecting the unconnected: The farmer-the-buyer and the market”, is underway in Tamale in the Northern Region.
The three-day annual event, which is in its 12th year, began last Tuesday. It serves as a platform for the entire agribusiness eco-system in the north to dialogue and exhibit products.
It is being organised by the Agrihouse Foundation, an NGO, in partnership with ECOBANK, Yara International, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Northern Regional Coordinating Council (NRCC).
Among the participants are fertiliser, irrigation and seed companies; dealers in tractors, machinery and equipment; technology firms, banks and financial institutions; processors, researchers, government institutions and development partners.
A Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong Addo, said the government was committed to ensuring a paradigm shift in agriculture from being a way of life to a serious business.
He said the government would continue to place emphasis on adding value to the country’s agricultural produce for export and local consumption to create wealth for farmers and jobs for the teeming youth.
“Agriculture in any form should no longer be constrained or limited by socio-economic, cultural and other factors.
“The ministry has been tackling the fundamentals through the introduction of new policy initiatives and strategies under the Planting for Food and Jobs, our flagship programme,” Mr Addo added.
He commended the organisers of the annual event, saying it set the agenda to reap the full potential in agriculture through the creation of market linkages for actors in the value chain.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akosua Akyea, said the event had, for the past years, become a leading market linkage on the country’s agricultural calendar
It also created opportunities for direct members and partners of the agricultural community to come together through exhibitions, field and practical training and demonstrations, buying and selling, as well as networking, she said.
“I am happy to report that for the past 11 years, Agrihouse and its partners, through this platform, have been connecting and engaging the agricultural sector, linking small-scale farmers and groups to buyers and connecting international agribusinesses to local ones,” she said.
According to her, the conference had recorded about 118 exhibitors, with a 45 per cent increase in exhibitor participation this year, adding that much sale of inputs such as machinery and equipment had been made.
The Northern Regional Minister, Shani Alhassan Shaibu, also commended the Agrihouse Foundation for organising the event over the years to connect farmers to various actors in the agricultural value chain.
He said despite the fact that agriculture was the backbone of the country’s economy, accounting for over 74 per cent of northern Ghana’s employment, it was unfortunate that the rich and diverse agricultural potential of the region remained untapped.
The Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu has called on stakeholders to invest intensively towards improving upon the state of market channels in the agricultural sector.
The Regional Minister stated that this will facilitate in combating and terminating agricultural challenges such as poor pricing, post-harvest losses, and mechanization, among others that arise when engaging middlemen in the agricultural market channel.
He reiterated that intensive investment in the market channels will salvage agriculture in the country.
Hon. Alhaji Shani made this call in his address to farmers and stakeholders in the agricultural sector at the 12th Pre-harvest Conference and Exhibition launch in Tamale.
“Now more than ever, we all need to invest in improving upon the state of our market channels within the agricultural sector. In doing so, we tackle and halt challenges including post-harvest losses, poor pricing for our farmers, mechanization and transportation challenges, and concerns that come with dealing with middlemen” He said.
The annual three days conference and exhibition organized by Agrihouse Foundation in partnership with other agribusinesses for the past decade has been a major market linkage event that has created opportunities for members and partners of the agricultural community via exhibitions, field and practical training, demonstrations, buying and selling and networking.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa elaborated that the theme for this year’s conference and exhibition is focused on putting strategic measures in place to ensure that long-term collaborations and partnerships are established among farmers and agribusinesses, build and strengthen existing marketing linkages as well as create markets for agricultural related SMEs.
Madam Alberta explained that this year’s exhibition and conference have matchmaking sessions that will provide farmer-based organizations with platforms to negotiate and sign business deals with aggregators of cereals and legumes.
She disclosed that industrial agro-processors have already purchased huge metric tons of soya beans and maize from farmers at the ongoing exhibition.
“Right here on these grounds, industrial agro-processors have purchased over 14,000 metric tons of soybean and 31,000 metric tons of maize from farmers,” She said.
The Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Yaw Frimpong Addo in his address at the same event commended the efforts of Agrihouse Foundation in improving food security and nutrition across seventeen districts in the Northern Region via their 1 house 1 garden project.
He, therefore, urged more corporate bodies, development partners and local agencies to support the numerous efforts by Agrihouse Foundation to improve agriculture in the country.
The Deputy Minister of food and Agriculture, Mr. Yaw Frimpong Addo says the Agrihouse Foundation has contributed hugely to the Ghanaian systems of Agriculture by eliminating cultural barriers such as gender biases, insecurity and seasonal farming. According to him, the Akufo Addo government is committed to ensure a paradigm shift of Agriculture from a way of life to a serious business and central activity, stating that Agriculture in any form should no longer be constrained or limited by socio economic, cultural, and other factors. “The Ministry of Food and Agriculture, wishers to acknowledge that, Pre-Harvest has provided us a real platform for effective communication of our plans and programs through these years of its existence. Agrihouse Foundation over the years has contributed to the Ghanaian systems of Agriculture by eliminating cultural barriers such as gender biases, insecurity and seasonal farming”. Addressing exhibitors and participants at this year’s Pre-harvest conference in Tamale, he said the Agrichouse foundation has set the agenda to reap the full potential of agriculture by transforming and giving meaning and practical expression to Agriculture. “This is what we at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture have set out to do since 2017. It has been about tackling the fundamentals as taking bold and strategic decisions, through the introduction of new policy initiatives strategies under planting for food and jobs our flagship programme “While sharing in the excitement, it is important to address the laudable objectives of this Agribusiness Conference and Exhibition event. The Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference offers a platform for interaction especially on pertinent issues affecting the agricultural sector. The event serves the purpose of knowledge and information sharing, learning vital lessons from the experiences of others, and striking business deals and acquaintances all geared towards the development of agriculture”. Mr. Yaw said the relationship with the Agrihouse Foundation is grounded in mutual support, and that the annual, Agrihouse conference plays key roles towards the implantation of the National Farmers Day Celebration. “The laudable “1household 1garden” Project is another exceptional example; an interventional project dedicated to improving food security and nutrition across seventeen districts in the Northern region. With support from AGRA and USAID- Feed the Future Program, over two thousand households and some public students have so far received modern training on how start and sustain backyard vegetable gardens in their homes and schools. Such tremendous efforts are commendable, and MOFA is committed to supporting these initiatives. I will urge more corporate bodies, local agencies and development partners to support the incredible efforts of Agrihouse Foundation”. He used the opportunity to acknowledge the USAID ADVANCE Project for handing over the Pre-harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions to the Agrihouse Foundation in 2011, as part of its exist strategy. The Cheif Executive officer of the Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyea Akosua said the pre-harvest, over a period of twelve years, has become a leading market linkage event on the country’s agricultural calendar, which annually create opportunity for direct members and partners of the agricultural community to come together through exhibitions, field and practical training and demonstrations, buying and selling, as well as networking. “Rightly so, I am happy to report that for the past eleven years, Agrihouse and partners, through this platform have been connecting and engaging the agric sector; linking small scale farmers and groups to buyers; connecting international agribusinesses to local ones. I am happy to report that from machinery dealers to transport providers; from agric processors, input dealers to ICT, branding and telecommunications service provider; this platform continues to connect the value chain and Pre-harvest has generated an estimated 5 billion USD of businesses for stakeholders in the past eleven (11) years, according to our monitoring and evaluation. Indeed, this is an impressive feat to acknowledge, because I we have come a long way since 2011 when USAID-advance handed over Pre-harvest to Agrihouse as part of their exiting strategy”. She revealed that industrial agro-processors have purchased over 14,000 Metric Tonnes of soybean and 31,000 Metric Tonnes of maize from farmers. “Farmers have been trained by expert facilitators, on how to negotiate deals, expected market demands, pricing and markets accessibility. We are looking forwards to more of such fruitful deliberations and testimonies this year”. Ms. Alberta mentioned that the conference recorded about one hundred and eighteen (118) exhibitors, with a record of forty-five percent (45%) increase in Exhibitor participation this year. “It is important to mention that over GHS32, 420, 745, worth of sales, among input dealers, machinery and equipment dealers have been made as a result of the exhibitions”. The Northern regional Minister, Alhaji Shani Alhassan Shaibu commended Agrihouse Foundation for holding down the fort, and sustaining an impactful interventional event that annually gathers farmer groups, processors and agri-businesses in space that allows them to connect, network, trade, mount exhibitions, share information, ideas and build capacity as agricultural stakeholders in Northern Region in particular and Ghana as a whole. He reiterated firm support, and that of the Regional Coordinating Council towards the self-motivated event that according to him continues to shine bright lights on the Northern region by making it the host region. This year Pre-harvest conference is under the theme; “Connecting the Unconnected: the Farmer-the- Buyer and the Market”. Source: Thenorthernweb.com
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.