Despite government’s flirtations with other modern-day endeavours, agriculture has retained its role as the undisputed essence of our local economy.
Indeed, agriculture is the pivot around which Ghana’s quest for economic transformation revolves – an assertion that many stakeholders take inspiration from in fashioning products, ideas and initiatives designed to push the agriculture sector’s fortunes.
In acknowledgement of the foregoing, Yara Ghana – a foremost firm versed in the production and distribution of mineral fertilisers – joined the commemorative 10th edition of the annual Pre-Harvest Conference and Exhibitions held in the Northern Region Capital, Tamale, from 7th-8th October as a sponsor and training facilitator.
Held under the theme COVID-19 And Beyond; Solutions for Agricultural Transformation, the event focused on equipping farmers to identify and take advantage of opportunities for growth post-COVID-19.
The annual agriculture showpiece created extraordinary opportunities for participants to meet with farmers of all commodities to negotiate and seal deals. The platform also afforded participants an opportunity to meet fertiliser, irrigation and seed companies; tractor, machinery and equipment dealers; technology firms, banks and financial institutions; processors, researchers; government institutions, development partners and a lot more.
Delivering his message at the event, West Africa Regional Director-Yara International, Danquah Addo-Yobo, paid copious tribute to the event and its organisers, and assured of the firms unflinching support for agriculture in the country.
“Yara is proud to have been part of the 10-year journey of the Pre-Harvest and the project that gave birth to this event. With the disruptions brought on by the onset of COVID-19, many sectors have been impacted in many ways – and not least agriculture. The world has not only been in a health crisis but also faces food security challenges. Smallholder farmers faced increased difficulty in accessing credits, markets, agricultural machinery and inputs among others, due to the restrictions and disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 preventive measures.
“But it is keen to note that with all these challenges, the agricultural sector in Ghana saw a growth of 2.5 percent in the second quarter according to data released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). Industry and Services on the other hand experienced contractions of 5.7 percent and 2.6 percent respectively.
“Another thing that the pandemic brought to the fore, especially at the height of the global travel and movement restrictions, was for the need as a country to move away from overdependence on imports of basic food items and to be locally sustainable in production of these.
“Indeed, the pandemic didn’t stop people from consuming agricultural products. Food is essential for human survival, thus highlighting the critical nature of the agriculture value chain and its actors.
“For a sector that employs a lot of the population, its potential to be a key contributor and driver of the economy cannot be underestimated. Some have even called for the country’s post-COVID-19 recovery to be hinged on agriculture.”
He continued: “Therefore, the theme for this year’s Pre-Harvest – which is COVID-19 and beyond; Solutions for Agricultural Transformation – is a timely and appropriate call.
“There is a need to rethink and find sustainable approaches to doing business during and post-COVID-19 across the value chain, so that the sector will remain resilient in the face of crises such as COVID-19 and be a major driver of the economy as it should.
“Yara is well-placed to contribute significantly to this with our climate and environmentally-smart nutrition solutions which are already accessible to the value chain, as well as our digital offerings that we will be rolling out soon to support smallholder farmers to be more productive, profitable and resilient.
“Yara is also engaging partners globally in the Food Chain to ensure that everyone everywhere has enough good-quality food to lead a healthy life, by improving the productivity and incomes of small-scale farmers through promoting equal access to land, technology and markets; sustainable food production systems; and resilient agricultural practices as part of the UN SDG Goal 2.
“We look forward to the commodity Break Out sessions and Trainings where we will share our extensive knowledge and experience in Crop Nutrition solutions. We also look forward to effective linkages between all partners in the agriculture value chain during these two days,” he concluded.
For optimum impact, the event programme was imbedded with sessions to give participants in-depth insight into the industry’s state post-COVID-19; and how farmers and other value chain actors can champion a revamp of the sector in their respective communities.
Commodity Break-out sessions, Intensive and focused Training Programmes were some of the sessions designed to impact participants.
In its role as a facilitator, Yara officials treated topics like: Vulnerability of farmers to marketing and pricing instability amidst COVID-19; Improving high and quality yields through appropriate production practices; Complete crop failure or low productivity: Reasons & Solutions, among others.
These training sessions were deliberately designed by organisers to improve the capacity of participants for improved productivity.
Since venturing into Ghana over a decade ago, Yara has been importing and supplying high quality products for various crop areas such as cereals, vegetables, cocoa, etc.
The company has an expansive nationwide distribution network, which affords it the leverage of offering technical support for farmers signed onto its Yara “Crop Nutrition solutions” initiative.
The event this year provided the Yara unique platform to further demonstrate its ardent commitment to renewed efforts in accelerating the growth and eventual development of Ghanaian agriculture.
The firm is a leading player in the fertiliser industry, with an institutional philosophy that believes in building partnerships and collaborations that will help strengthen the entire agricultural value chain. This is demonstrated by collaborations with various industry players such as the MOFA, AFAP the USAID/ADVANCE, Research institutions and Agri–house in areas such as trainings, field demos and agricultural-related events.
Yara has a long-term commitment to Ghana, and is keen on strengthening its operations in Ghana to be a hub for some other West Africa countries.
Commitment to Innovation
Yara’s commitment to entrenching innovation in the local agric sector is laudable. In fact, the company has supported nearly every worthwhile initiative that has sought to place farmers on a better footing since it began operations locally over a decade ago. Having established itself as an ever-present partner of the Annual Pre-Harvest conference, Yara is always at the forefront of championing initiatives that have proven vital to the growth and development of agriculture in Ghana.
Besides its partnership efforts, Yara is noted for outdooring brilliant agric concepts of its own that have shown great worth in the crusade to position the agric sector for greatness.
Over the last decade, Yara has been at the forefront of revolutionising the fertiliser industry in Ghana by introducing its Crop Nutrition Concept – which focuses on crop knowledge, portfolio combinations and application competence. These three pillars are key in helping Ghanaian farmers optimise profitability in a sustainable manner, instead of the blanket application of fertilisers which had hitherto been the practice.
Yara Ghana began operation in Ghana in 2007. The firm however has its roots from Yara ASA – the parent company with a global reputation spanning some 114 years and operations in over 150 countries worldwide.
Headquartered in Ghana, the firm has a sprawling blending/production facility in Tema. Yara also has representatives in all the 16 regions of Ghana to facilitate its operations.
The 10th Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Exhibition and Conference was organised by Agri-house Foundation, and collectively supported by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the European Union, Yara Ghana, Ecobank, the Northern Region Coordinating Council, and Agricultural Development Bank (ADB).