Tag Archives: Agribusiness

Ghana: GEPA assures incentive packages for investors in sugar products

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), has assured that it will provide special incentive and cost reduction packages for companies that venture into local manufacture of sugar and sugar confectionery including small scale manufacturers.

This strategic intervention, according to GEPA, is designed to promote Ghanaian manufactured sugar in the sub-region and other African markets.

Though the GEPA has identified challenges including the competition of brewers of local gin and manufacturers of ethanol for the sugarcane raw materials, the authority is poised to ensure timely development of sugarcane plantations and out-grower schemes to safeguard adequate availability of raw materials for sugar factories.

Sugar is part of the 17 integrated list of products in the National Export Development Strategy, and is one of the focal items under the Non-Traditional Exports items that GEPA has outlined in the strategy.

Ghana imports about US$2 million worth of sugar annually, while the Komenda Sugar Factory continues to under produce due to the lack of raw materials.

Though government, through a Sugar Policy has reconstructed and commissioned the factory in 2016 at a reported cost of US$35 million, it was however shutdown shortly after the factory was commissioned.

The Trade Ministry has indicated that a US$24.5 million Indian Eximbank credit facility was being obtained to develop and implement a plantation and out-grower scheme in a bid to provide raw materials for the factory.

While some 14,100 acres of sugarcane is expected to be cultivated to feed the plant under the scheme, the total output of fully operational factory of 250,000 metric tonnes will still be less than the 375,000 metric tonnes required nationally. With the deficit, Ghana still needs additional sugar for the domestic market and much more for exports.

Indeed, Ghana needs to see more investments in sugar factories if the country is to become a net exporter of sugar in the sub-region.

Meanwhile, Nigerian business magnate, Aliko Dangote has, according to GEPA, expressed interest to assist Ghana to become self-sufficient in sugar production.

We are re-energizing our Smallholder Farmers the need to see Agriculture as a Business – CEO BEIT Farms

The Chief Executive Officer of BEIT Farms, Mr. Evans Larbi, is asking farmers across the African continent to see farming as a serious business.

The Chief Executive Officer believes that agriculture plays an important role when it comes to the economic development of this continent.

“The continent has some of the richest natural resources for agricultural production in the world, so why are we still importing junk foods into our continent” he quizzed.

The Chief Executive Officer made these remarks in an interview with this reporter, at the Africa Smallholder Farmers Summit 2020 with the theme; “Creating jobs for African Women and Youth through smallholder farming”.

The summit brought together participants from Ghana and other Africa countries here in Accra.

The summit was organized by BEIT Farms Ghana in collaboration with the University of Ghana (Agric Department), Ag-INNOVATE, and Ghana Association of Agricultural Economist (GAAE).

Read also Bigmanism: A canker destroying local businesses

Mr. Larbi pointed out that unlocking the country’s agricultural potential will create jobs as well as providing enough food for domestic supply, adding that the task was made more urgent by the vast sums spent on food imports, with Africa spending an annual total of about US$35bn.

However, a change in strategy will be necessary in order to achieve this goal, Larbi added. “Agriculture must cease being treated as a development programme; agriculture must henceforth be treated as a business,” the CEO said.

Chief Executive Officer for Okata Farms Mrs. Mabel Akoto Kwudzo and 2017 second national best farmer believes that there needs to be a comprehensive repositioning of agriculture among the nation’s youth, including how it is presented in the school system and, by extension, viewed by society as a lesser career choice.

Read also 40,000 young people in Nigeria to benefit from Young Africa Works-IITA Project Training Programme

Mrs. Kwudzo said that along with creating a youth in agriculture policy, which would address some of the long-standing issues that face the youth in agriculture such as access to land and funding for agriculture, marketing and information about the industry, the issue of how agriculture is taught in schools will also have to be addressed.

“There also has to be a bigger approach and a bigger rethink, and a part of that rethink will have to start in our education sector,” she said.

Read also Making Good Money From Tomato Production, Cost-Benefit Analysis

The 2020 Best Farmer, Youth in Agriculture for the Upper Manya Krobo District in the Eastern Region underscored the urgency for consistent advocacy on the challenges confronting smallholder farmers and entreated the media to mainstream the sector in the national agenda.

Read also Next NDC government to establish farmers’ mechanisation centres

“Agriculture is not a secondary profession. It’s not a fallback profession. It is not something you do if you don’t have anything else to do. We need agriculture to be given pride of place in our education curriculum and not just to be taught to our students on the basis of primary agriculture,” she also said.

Cocoa farmers see boost in production after applying Omya Calciprill

Cocoa farmers in the Western Region are gradually seeing a boost in cocoa production following the introduction of Omya Calciprill to tackle soil acidity on their cocoa farms.

Some of the farmers who testified after using Omya Calciprill explained the improvements in the leaves of cocoa trees for better and increased yields after applying Omya Calciprill to the soil a year ago.

The farmers gave their testimonies during a two-day training seminar for the Seed Production Division (SPD) of COCOBOD at Kejebril and Wassa Akropong, both in the Western Region, about the importance of Calciprill and the effects of acidic soils on cocoa last Wednesday.

Speaking to the media at the seminar, Mr. Samuel Asare Ankamah – Western South CHED Regional Manager, explained that applying Omya Calciprill to the soil will help boost soil quality and cause an increase in yield for farmers in the region.

Read also Unlocking Africa’s ‘Value Added’ industrial potential, stories of women and men in this drive

According to Mr. Ankamah, Western South is the hub of cocoa farming – hence there is a need to ensure good farm practices, such as soil rehabilitation, to ensure high-yield cocoa production in the region and country at large.

Facilitator for the training, Mr. Daniel Attivor – an agronomist for Omya West Africa, stated that the training was to help farmers understand that acidic soils with low PH will hinder effectiveness of fertilisers applied until they neutralise soil – which is what the application of Calcipril gives.

Mr. Attivor noted that it is important for farmers to know the nature of their soil with the help of Extension Officers before applying fertilizer, in order to get the required production level.

Read also IFC partners with Agricultural Bank of Egypt to promote farmers’ switch to solar irrigation systems

Operations Manager of Demeter Ghana, Mr. Nick Parish, on his part stated that they are happy to be part of the project and will continue supporting farmers with products needed to boost production in the country.

This is the second training seminar held for farmers in the region after renewal of the partnership between the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and Beft Agro Consult Limited, distributor of fertilisers in Ghana.

Facilitator for the training, Mr. Daniel Attivor – an agronomist for Omya West Africa

To help promote the message of soil-acidity and the importance of Calciprill, Beft Agro Ltd. will be aided by Demeter Ghana Ltd., a specialist agricultural company.

Studies have shown that soil-acidity is one of the major constraints in cocoa cultivation and has a bearing on the levels of key nutrients, such as Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus, in the soil – leading to low cocoa yields and thereby affecting farmers adversely.

Read also Making Good Money From Tomato Production, Cost-Benefit Analysis

The Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG), over a two-year testing period and subsequent distribution, have proven that Omya Calciprill can boost yields by 70 percent.

A section of participant during the workshop

Omya Calciprill is a high-quality soil conditioner from Germany that is used to rid soils of acidity, leading to increased yields as well as improved crop quality.

Beft Agro Limited producers of Omya Calcipril have worked closely with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and COCOBOD for many years toward ensuring excellence in crop and cocoa production

Making Good Money From Tomato Production, Cost-Benefit Analysis

Tomato is mostly produced in eleven out of the 16 regions in Ghana. These production regions include Upper East, Northern, North East, Bono, Bono East, Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra, Oti and Volta Regions.

The tomato sector in Ghana has failed to reach its potential, in terms of attaining yields comparable to other countries, in terms of the ability to sustain processing plants, and in terms of improving the livelihoods of those households involved in tomato production and the tomato commodity chain.

Despite government interventions that include effort to establish a number of tomato processing factories, tomatoes of the right quality and quantity for commercial agroprocessing are not being grown.

Many farmers still prefer to plant local varieties, typically with a high water content, many seeds, poor color, and low brix. Land husbandry practices are often suboptimal.

Average yields remain low, typically under ten tons per hectare. Because of production seasonality, high perishability, poor market access, and competition from imports, some farmers are unable to sell their tomatoes, which are left to rot in their fields.

Yet other farmers in Ghana have achieved higher tomato yields, production is profitable, and many farmers in Ghana continue to choose to grow tomatoes over other crops. One of the key issues for tomato farmers in Ghana is high per-unit input costs.

When farmgate prices are high, this is not such a concern for individual farmers—farmers in Greater Accra, for
example, incur large irrigation costs while yields remain low to grow for the off-season when prices are more likely to be high.

But when farmgate prices are low and variable, as is often the case for rained farmers who plant according to the rains and accordingly typically all harvest at a similar time, reducing per unit input costs is essential.

Further, for tomato processing to be competitive in Ghana, average per unit production costs need to be considerably lower so that farmers can sell their tomatoes profitably at the low but guaranteed prices offered by processors.

To go into tomato farming first, you need to have an idea about tomato production steps and processes. If you can get those right then you are on your way to making good money from tomato production.

Mind you, pests and weeds are major threats to realizing your income after spending so much. Now let’s put some figures down and work around it.

Operational Budget/Ha/Yr (2020)

ActivityCost (GHS)
Land rent300.00
Land preparation600.00
Seeds(100g x 4)240.00
Fertilizer & manure3,630.00
Agrochemical100.00
Labour3,500.00
Estimated total cost8,370.00

Yield

Yield varies greatly with cultivar and adherence to good agricultural practices. Yields of up to 35-40 tons/ha are achievable.

Market requirement

The fruit should be firm and free from blemishes or any damage.

Revenue

Average yield/ha = 40 tons = 40,000 kg

Percentage loss of 10%

Available yield = 90/100 × 40,000 = 36,000 kg

Packaging in 36,000 kg/52 kg = 692.3 boxes

Farm gate price/52 kg box = GHS20.00

Income = 692 boxes x GHS20 = GHS13,840.00

Net income = GHS13,840.00 – GHS8,370.00

                     = GHS5,470.00

Note:

  • This budget does not include fixed cost and overheads.
  • Price of tomatoes has been quoted conservatively. You can get higher prices depending on the time and location.

Ghana 2020/21 cocoa arrivals down 10.4% by November 5 – COCOBOD

Ghana’s graded and sealed (G&S) cocoa arrivals stood at 146,886 tonnes as of Novenber 5 since the start of this year’s harvest on Oct. 1, down from 163,162 tonnes the previous season, figures from marketing board COCOBOD showed by the end of last week.

G&S is cocoa that has been quality checked and sealed in bags by COCOBOD and is ready to be shipped.

Cocoa production in Ghana is expected to reach 800,000 tonnes this season, COCOBOD has forecast and insists that despite the slow start to the new season with regards to purchases from local farmers for export, this target will still be met.

Read also COCOBOD takes pragmatic steps to fight to check soil acidity to boost cocoa production

Indeed, following a 28 percent increase in the price at which government buys cocoa from local farmers at the farm gate – the first such increase in two years – enthusiasm is high among producers.

Besides, COCOBOD has embarked on several major initiatives such as hand pollination in addition to its traditional mass spraying and distribution of subsidized fertilizer with the aim of tripling productivity per acre.

Read also Ghana threatens to suspend cocoa companies’ sustainability schemes

It is also registering farmers on a digital database with the aim of ensuring that only the righty recipients benefit from some more new initiatives in the pipeline aimed at supporting genuine cocoa farmers and increasing their output per acre.

However COVID 19 has significantly reduced global demand for cocoa since chocolate consumption has fallen considerably as consumers exercise caution with regards to their household budgets.

But within COCOBOD itself there are suspicions that demand is being deliberately dampened to dissuade Ghana from charging the recently agreed US$400 per tonne Living Income Differential paid to it and neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire to enable their cocoa farmers earn more income.

Read also COCOBOD targets 300% increment in coffee production next season – Owusu-Manu

Below are exporters’ buying volume from Oct. 1 to Nov. 5. Exporter Volume (tonnes) Olam 37,550 AGL (Ecom Trading) 25,158 ELIHO 17,963 NYONKOPA (Barry Callebaut) 11,903 P.B.C 11,113 FCL 6,532 KUAPA KOKO 6,276 UNICOM 5,008 A.B.L. 3,283 CMGL 2,648 CARGILL 2,153 TRGL 305 ————————————————— TOTAL 146,162——————————

Catching up with Agripreneur winners at the African Development Bank AgriPitch competition

The African Development Bank’s virtual African Youth Agripreneur Forum and AgriPitch Competition (AYAF/AgriPitch 2020) – currently underway – coincides with the African Union’s Africa Youth Month.(link is external) Both celebrate the positive impact that youth-led innovation is having on Africa’s development.

AYAF/AgriPitch 2020 kicked off on 3 November with the first of three weekly webinars, and will run through 17 November when it closes with the AgriPitch competition winners’ ceremony. The competition rewards youth agripreneurs with a combined $120,000 in prizes, investment opportunities, and post-competition mentorship and training.

The event draws participation by hundreds of youth agripreneurs, government agencies, development partners, private sector leaders and potential investors from across the continent to help young entrepreneurs in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors to scale up their businesses.

Horticulture business founder Paul Sheppard of South Africa and Ugandan agritech entrepreneur Joseph Ogwal were among the winners of $74,000 in prizes in last year’s AgriPitch competition.

We asked Sheppard and Ogwai about how their start-ups have evolved since last year’s AYAF in Cape Town, South Africa. Questions and Answers have been edited for clarity.

Q: How did you apply the AgriPitch prize money to your business?

Future Farms co-founder Paul Sheppard, who won $10,000 in AgriPitch’s early start-up category said, “The money eased our cash flow so we could buy stock in greater volumes and upgrade our indoor [hydroponics] farm in Johannesburg.

“We added more grow units and grow systems, and that increased our ability to produce more crops. It increased our investment in our food systems, resulting in a 15-20% increase in Future Farms’ output.”

Agro-Supply co-founder Joseph Ogwal, who placed third in the early start-up category, took home $6,000 said, “That money came at the right time – we were able to hire a full-time sales and marketing person.

“Fundraising and marketing were the parts we were struggling with before AYAF, I was doing it by myself. With the sales and marketing hire, we doubled the number of small-holder farmers using our mobile app’s lay-away [pay in installments] system to 10,000.”

Paul Sheppard celebrates his ApriPitch win with Joyene Isaacs, then Head of Department of Agriculture, Western Cape Government, South Africa.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your start-up’s operations?

Sheppard: “After winning the AgriPitch prize, we got a lot of publicity that led to many companies approaching us to invest in Future Farms. We actually got to a stage with a company that had all but signed the commitment to invest … then COVID-19 struck and it hamstrung the money from moving. Because the company paused investments, our deal won’t go ahead until after we’ve gotten through this pandemic. We’ll survive, but COVID-19 is going to slow down our growth.”

Ogwal: “Farmers using our mobile lay-away system would go to a local store or agent to purchase a scratch card, and then use that to add money to their account [to purchase seeds, fertilizers, etc.].

“When coronavirus started, there was a lot of social distancing, so we had to innovate our operations to match social distancing norms. So, we incorporated a mobile money digital platform allowing farmers to directly add lay-away funds, without the store or agent interaction.

“We implemented individual appointments for farmers to pick seed, fertilizer and chemicals [pesticides] from our distribution centres to reducing crowding. We even started using motorcycles to deliver small packages to each small holder farmer who completed lay-away payments.”

AgriPitch winner Joseph Ogwal, center, at the Bank’s AYAF and AgriPitch conference in 2019.

Q: How did you change your business model as a result of the AYAF prize?

Sheppard: “We realized through the AYAF business training sessions that we needed to create a deeper case study, deeper examples of how our [hydroponic agriculture] systems work and why they are feasible.

“Now, we know that when you go to an investor, a potential client or partner, and they ask, “Where is the proof?” – you will have done your proof and you have data to prove it. That was a bit of a learning curve for us.”

Ogwal: “We learned to transform the way were operating, to focus more on the way we are marketing ourselves and our concept of a lay-away system for farmers who were used to taking out loans.

“We want farmers to understand the importance of using their own money to invest in agriculture rather than taking loans from financial institutions.

“The AgriPitch prize money also helped us pay for a radio marketing campaign that reached more than 20,000 smallholder famers in Uganda – and that was really great.”

Ten Agribusiness start-ups to participate in Agritech Investment Programme

Ten dynamic and innovative agribusiness start-ups have been nominated to partake in the Agritech Investment Readiness Accelerator Programme following a four-phase rigorous and competitive selection process.

The selected companies are start-ups currently leveraging the use of technology to augment their business operations and models to help address everyday problems in Agriculture, including Manufacturing, Crop Farming, Farm Machinery, Food Production, Pesticides, Mapping, Marketing and Public Relations.

Selected start-ups include:

  • AB Precision Solutions, which provides precision agricultural solutions to farmers as a service, including the deployment of drones, to improve yields and reduce post-harvest losses;
  • AF Map Works uses GIS software such as ArcGIS, ERDAS, and Global Mapper for data analysis mainly rainfall or temperatures for a designated location to build up geographic maps indicating the changes in vegetation and weather condition in a certain period of time.
  • Agro Innova conducts research to identify challenges faced by smallholder farmers in Ghana and develops farmer-centred innovation solutions which can easily be adopted by these farmers
  • AIScarecrow helps cereal farmers to successfully ward off pest birds, cutting their losses to these birds by 90-95 per cent and saving 8-10 hours of their time.
  • Agro Kings, which focuses on agro-processing, farming, and agri-tech, with the vision to feed the future, empower smallholder farmers and innovate using technology, they produce Ghana’s premium rice brand, Nana’s Rice;
  • Commodity Network utilizes proprietary software app, to collect, maintain, and analyze smallholder farmers online and offline profiles, generating data to support innovative farm solution distribution, whilst enabling rural smallholder farmers’ convenient and cost-effective access to modern farm inputs and farm management technologies, as well as market;
  • Eazz Foods which dries eggs to make it easier to use, easier to transport and best for industrial purpose;
  • Grow for Me, a web and mobile based Agricultural crowdfunding and crowd farming platform, that sponsors farmers in growing more crops to solve hunger problems in Africa;
  • SAYeTECH, a combines the advantages of IoT and Artificial Intelligence with robust hardware, ideally suited for smallholder farms in Africa which design, manufacture, provide maintenance and training, and empower farmers with data that help increase their efficiency;
  • WamiAgro which offers input supply in the form of seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. Also, in collaboration with partners, they offer smallholder farmers mechanization services on credit.

Read also Embrace the idea of going into farming – Omanhene of Nkoranza Traditional Council to Ghanaian youth

It is being hosted by Innohub in partnership with Tech Entrepreneurship Initiative, ‘Make-IT in Africa’, and is being implemented by Deutsche für Gesellschaft Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Wangara Green Ventures, ABSA Bank Plc and Accra Angels Network.

A statement issued to announce this said even though many start-ups showed signs of strong growth potential they require external funding to witness future growth, adding that great fraction of these start-ups were unable to raise money from investors because they were not investor ready and lacked the capacity to appeal to investors.

It said the Agritech investment initiative would therefore take selected Agribusinesses through a structured 8-week Accelerator programme and work closely with experienced technical Business Coaches to help them to be investor ready.

Read also Ghana: Agriculture needs practical and deliberate incentives to sustain economic growth

“The accelerator will help assess the maturity level of start-ups, as well as evaluate and increase their investment attractiveness. Each start-up will also be supported logistically with a laptop as well as licence to a globally used platform that supports them to build their investment case.

“The programme will use the blended learning approach with a focus on providing participating agribusinesses with the support to meet three clear fundamentals; Strategize to assess their investment readiness and define their investment ask; Target the kind of capital and investors suited to each unique venture; and cultivating investor relationships and agreeing on deal terms that matter,” the statement added.

Embrace the idea of going into farming – Omanhene of Nkoranza Traditional Council to Ghanaian youth

The Omanhene of Nkoranza traditional council, Nana Kwame Baffoe IV, has advised the youth in the country – especially residents of Nkoranza traditional area – to embrace the idea of going into farming.

“With the current opportunities in the agricultural sector such as high yielding varieties, fertilizer, and financial assistance, it is imperative and lucrative to grab these golden opportunities and venture into farming,” he said.

Nana Kwame Baffoe IV further explained that more and more people are going into farming because of the good return on their investments in agriculture.

Read also Making the leap from employee to entrepreneur – Maxwell Ampong’s perspective

“The President of the Republic of Ghana H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo knows the benefits of agriculture that why he introduced the planting for food and jobs flagship program which has boosted the morale of the youth in agriculture and this has made the country to become food security with the abundance of foodstuffs,” he added.

Nana also urged the youth to put a stop to the rural-urban migration in search of non-existing greener pastures.

He added venturing into agriculture will not only make the young generation financially stable but will increase their well-being through an increase in income.

Read also Ghana: Agriculture needs practical and deliberate incentives to sustain economic growth

This will also help to decongest the populated city of Accra where many people sleep on the streets due to lack of accommodation.

The Omanhene expressed his fears as more and more young people leave the village to the urban areas as this may bring food shortage soon.

He reiterated the call by President Akufo-Addo for the youth to consider converting their energy into something that can build their future.

Read also Decent jobs to be created through green jobs strategy – Green Economist

Currently, most of the land tillers are aged and do not have the strength to continue their work, hence, the need to have a more energetic and strong generation to go into agriculture.

Making the leap from employee to entrepreneur – Maxwell Ampong’s perspective

Entrepreneurs are a rare breed of visionaries, creators and innovators who have the courage and ingenuity to take risks, break away from the herd and cast a path for themselves.

Starting a business is an increasingly appealing and aspirational career choice – particularly in markets where secure jobs are getting scarcer, and the idea of working your fingers to the bone just to make your boss’s beach house more lavish isn’t very appealing – yet it’s tainted with a veil of uncertainty, especially in the early days. So, how do you become an entrepreneur?

Whether you are in the game of amassing wealth, changing the world or building a legacy that will outlive you, there will come a time where you will need to set aside your job and outsiders’ expectations and just ‘make the leap’.

Making the leap from employee to entrepreneur (successfully) is arguably one of the key obstacles and moments of truth in the life of a start-up founder.

To find out more about this ‘moment of truth’ we gathered some of the best entrepreneurs in Ghana and Founders Institute Mentors to discuss the topic in an interactive online webinar. What follows are the key learnings from “The Leap: Making the Leap from Employee to Entrepreneur in Ghana”.

The grubby reality of entrepreneurship is that there is no magic formula. What follows are some useful considerations and inspirations for anyone seeking to make the leap:

Serve your customer, not your ego.

Be led by the conviction that you’re there to solve a problem, not by confidence in your billion-dollar idea and the need to be seen as a white-collar entrepreneur. Kafui Yevu (Founder of Kraado) rightly said that, “Entrepreneurship is not meant for you to show off as your own boss. You are there to solve a problem.”

Many aspiring entrepreneurs fancy the idea of being labelled as entrepreneurs, but they have no clue whose problem or pain they are solving with their business solution.

Read also Home gardening: How to make a cone Home/kitchen garden

The value you sell is in the solution you are offering. Before making the leap, ask yourself these reflective questions;

  • Is your business model making someone’s life more convenient?
  • Is your potential customer willing to pay you to make their life easier with your solution?
  • And after you have served them, do you see them recommending you to their family, friends and other potential customers?

Answering these questions is part of the preliminary steps for starting and operating a sustainable business model in Ghana.

Keeping the Lights On.

How do you pay your bills, especially during the first two years of your start-up venture during which you are either making a loss or barely breaking even?

We unpacked what it means to make the leap in three steps and put together some tactics that will help you keep the lights on, building on the experience of some of our FI mentors and entrepreneurs.

Remember, this is just an inspiration and one of many options. It’s important that ‘you do you’ and work with the resources and opportunities that are available around you.

As Felix Darko, one of the leading Program Managers of the African success story, MEST stated, “You need to find that place within yourself to focus and dedicate your full energies to both your side hustle and your startup. This is where time management becomes critical.”

Stage 1: Keep your job and start a side hustle (your start-up).

Keep your job. Once you have identified a problem worth solving, your goal is to develop a solution (or many iterations of it) and find a market (or many ways of bringing the product to market). If you keep an exploratory and testing mindset, then you’re on track.

Keep in mind, at this point, you are not running a business full time yet. Making it your side hustle means you are able to nurture and grow your idea or solution and test it within your network.

You are also able to fall on your current employment income to fund aspects of your entirely new venture and also provide for yourself and your family.

Read also Home gardening: How to make a simple drip irrigation home garden using plastics

Another argument in favour of such a strategy is the ability to make sound and good business decisions for your early-stage venture since the urgency to make money and keep a roof over your head is significantly reduced.

“Have a stream of income that keeps you afloat to survive when starting your business because being in survival mode makes you desperate and you’re likely to make bad decisions.” – Foster Awintiti- Akugri | Founder, Hacklab Foundation.

Stage 2: Quit your job and double the hustle.

At some point, after you have identified your product-market fit, you have revenue coming in, and your business is requiring more of your time and dedication. This is when your start-up (which started as your side hustle) needs full-time attention, but it can’t yet pay a full time salary .

Founder Institute Ghana is made up of amazingly successful Founders and leaders, and some of our mentors who ‘did it’ by deciding to switch from full-time employees to sole traders in order to maintain an income stream from a job they can do for others while opening up more time for the business.

Basically, switching their full-time role for a side hustle. Your options may include offering services like freelance consulting, blogging, public speaking and tutoring which is advised to be within your area of expertise.

Cecil Nutakor, CEO & Founder of eCampus, mentioned during the panel discussion that he considers offering public speaking services in the education and e-learning sector as a side hustle.

This is something he can pull off with ease because it’s in his area of expertise and has an intrinsic alignment with his edu-tech business, potentially acting as a marketing tool for his startup as well. Two birds with one stone, essentially.

Read also A step by step guide to nursing a newborn Calf

Stage 3: Full-time salary from your start-up

You hustled hard. Worked double jobs but it was worth it. You have found product-market fit and you have got money in the bank to pay yourself a salary and focus 100% on your company. You made the leap, congratulations!

But this is only the beginning … if your money in the bank is coming from healthy revenue (selling your product) it’s a positive sign of financial sustainability, if your salary is paid with investors’ money, congrats for raising funding but remember, your goal is to make revenue, not raise capital.

The Support before The Success

Surveying the experts very quickly revealed that a well-balanced support system should focus on these 3 key areas;

  • Emotional Support: when you have family, friends, and a great network who believe in you and are there to help keep your head straight when the going gets tough, it makes your transition a lot smoother.
  • Mentorship: having mentors who are experts in their respective fields to turn to when you need advice is also good to keep you on track as you make the leap. This is a great opportunity to learn from mistakes they may have made or learn from how they approached a particular problem that you are currently facing.
  • Financial Support: We are not talking about Venture Capital (VC) money or huge grants from some top-notch organizations which come with tedious procedures. Typically, it’s hard to raise those types of funds in the first 2 years of your start-up’s operation. That is why it’s important to focus on the less expensive forms of funding – i.e. raising funds from family and friends. Start-up capital is always a headache for many start-ups and so being able to fall on family and friends reduces the financial burden. In Ghana, the cost of borrowing from any bank is anywhere from 15% to 30%+ per annum, and it is higher especially for a start-up, which may be considered as high risk. This is why it’s good to start with family and friends.

“It’s the support you get before you make it as an entrepreneur that’s more important.” – Nana Osei Founder, Co- founder, Bluhue & Bôhten Eyewear.

Read also All you need to know about Grasscutter Farming

Sparring Partner and Teams

Another of our expert, Mahi Sall, a Global Startup Mentor, commented: “It is best to have a partner or co-founder when starting a business because they usually come with new skills sets and experiences.”

As the saying goes, “No man is an island” and it is important to learn how to collaborate with others to achieve exponential growth. Why own 100% of a venture worth USD $0.00, when you can own 50% of a venture worth millions of dollars?

Between 2004 and 2014, 43 unicorns were built globally, and 35 of these had co-founders, with an average of three co-founders. This emphasizes the importance of collaborating and sharing the responsibility of building a sustainable business.

A co-founder brings to the table skills, experiences, and a network that complement yours. You basically have more than one brain to develop strong and innovative solutions to address the challenge identified for your startup venture.

Mahi also added that, “You need a sparring partner or someone to support you when your capabilities alone can’t achieve results.” And of course, those great co-founders, who complemented one another’s ideocracies, talents and skills, have built great teams around them.

Cecil Nutakor, who is no stranger to building teams, commented, “If you build the right team, you will do less and you will have the time to be more visionary, innovative, and try new things.”

To conclude, it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for making the leap from employee to an entrepreneur. However, it is our hope that the considerations above will set you on the right path to making informed decisions as to when and how to make such a leap in your current situation.

You need cheerleaders (outside of friends and family!). If your idea is that great, and you are the right person to move that idea forward, you’ll quickly get buy-in from others, in various forms of support, whether it be mentorship, connections or financial.

Managing Director of Founder Institute Ghana, Simon R Turner, perhaps pulls everything together most succinctly by saying: “Once you find that your side hustle is taking priority, more enjoyable, and more rewarding than your day job, that’s when you know it’s time to make the leap.”

Have a lovely week!

This article was written by Groundbreaking Africa and Maxwell Investments Group, in partnership with Founder Institute Ghana.

Maxwell Ampong is an Agro-Commodities Trader and the CEO of Maxwell Investments Group, a Business Solutions Provider. He is also the Official Business Advisor to Ghana’s General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU) of the Trade Union Congress (TUC). He writes about trending and relevant economic topics, and general perspective pieces.

Poultry and related products imports from Europe banned over bird flu

Ghana has banned poultry imports from the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, and Denmark over bird flu.

The government has temporarily banned the importation of domestic birds as well as their products from the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Denmark and the United Kingdom with immediate effect.

This came following the outbreak of highly pathogenic Avian Influenza subtype H5N8 from these European countries.

A Press Statement issued by the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry of Agric, Robert P. Ankobiah said: “Importers are to note that all importation permits that were issued for such consignment from the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Denmark, and the United Kingdom have been rendered invalid with immediate effect.”

Read also Ghana: SNV launches GrEEn Job Fair at Agona Nkwanta

The ministry stressed that day-old chicks, hatching eggs, frozen chicken, poultry products, and poultry feeds have all been affected by the ban.

Here is a copy of the statement:

Read also Agric requires strong regulatory authority – Agribusiness Chamber

Agricultural Development Bank to allocate 50% loan portfolio to Agric

The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has reiterated its commitment to agricultural financing by implementing a strategic plan that will increase the share of Agricultural loans in the bank’s total loan portfolio to a minimum of 50 percent by 2022.

The Managing Director of ADB, Dr. John Kofi Mensah, who announced this said the bank has also collaborated with the Ghana Incentive-based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL) to de-risk agricultural financing by issuing credit guarantees. This he explained, will see the bank give agric concessional loans at 10 percent interest rate per annum.

Dr. Mensah further pointed out that the ADB has also entered into an agreement with the Outgrower Value Chain Fund (OVCF) to provide a GH¢20 million loan facility for the rice value chain programme, indicating that this facility is expected to transform rice production so as to make the country self-sufficient in the years ahead.

The ADB MD was speaking during the opening session of the 11th National Farmers’ forum held at Techiman in the Bono East Region. The forum, which is part of this year’s Farmers day was organised by ADB, served as an interface for farmers to interact with agricultural industry players.

The 2020 National Farmers Day celebration is under the theme “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19: Opportunities and Challenges.” The awards was held on Friday November 6 to honour distinguish farmers across the country.

Read also How a global pandemic could strengthen agribusiness in Africa

Numerating other special initiatives by the bank, the MD said ADB has special financing for the construction of roads in cocoa-growing areas and fishing communities, saying “any contractor who approaches ADB for a facility for such projects is given a special attention.”

The bank is recruiting and training credit officers to effectively handle agricultural-related loan requests to reduce unnecessary delays, he added.

“In the midst of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, the bank introduced a number of programmes in 2020, including the Broiler Outgrower Programme for which an amount of GH¢500 million has been earmarked.

This programme is expected to help reduce the large volume of chicken parts imported into the country,” he said.

The Minister of State in charge of Agriculture, Dr. Nurah Gyiele, announced that henceforth, there will be reforms in the criteria for selecting national best farmer, explaining that a winner must be someone who has previously won district and regional awards.

He added that a national best farmer must be proven to be adopting improved practices and technologies.

Read also Export strategy eyes US$1bn revenue from cashew in 10 years

The Minister also stated that in selecting a national best farmer, the person must practice agricultural diversification, produce quality produce, adopt climate-smart practices, creditworthy and impact on other farmers as well as support his/her community development. “Going forward the farm size alone will not be enough determining a winner.”

Topics treated at the forum include Financing Agribusiness under COVID-19: The role of ADB; Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19 Opportunities and threats within the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector; Ghana Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (GIRSAL).

How a global pandemic could strengthen agribusiness in Africa

As supply chains around the world are disrupted and the demand for certain types of food drops following the COVID-19 outbreak, questions have begun to emerge about Africa and its ability to ensure food security for its citizens.

While parts of the continent have faced recent food production challenges due to droughts, floods and swarms of locusts, Africa continues to have enough staple food to feed the majority of its citizens thanks to local farming and imports from other parts of the world.

However, the outbreak of COVID-19 has highlighted the continent’s need to concentrate its efforts on becoming self-sufficient when it comes to the production of certain food like wheat, maize, rice and proteins, as well as value-addition and processing of raw materials.

More formalised or efficient value chains in other parts of the world mean that countries in Africa will continue to import certain foods, but thanks to the current global outlook there is an opportunity for Africa to refocus and benefit from the competitive advantages which exist on the continent – arable land, affordable labour, good rainfall in parts and available fresh-water mass.

When it comes to the potential for driving growth in Africa, especially across sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture remains the sector with the most potential. The sector employs 70% of the continent’s population and contributes about 23% to GDP.

Many would agree that Africa has not realised its full potential with regard to farming, and that the advent of COVID-19 has emphasised the need to explore ways of becoming self-sufficient in this area.

One of the ways of doing this is by embracing intra-Africa trade in the agribusiness space. COVID-19 has already ignited conversations about de-globalisation as major trade routes were temporarily cut off because of lockdowns around the world, or bottlenecks which occurred in the value chain.

Agriculture and food production are essential services but have not escaped the consequences of shutting down economies and disruptions in global supply chains.

These disruptions, when approached differently, present an opportune time to start discussions about regionalisation of agribusiness in Africa.

Read also Export strategy eyes US$1bn revenue from cashew in 10-yrs

The current reality is that many countries in Africa are over-reliant on imports from the East or West to meet their food needs. Two-thirds of African countries are net importers of food.

Intra-Africa trade provides the opportunity to reduce this reliance on food from outside the continent, and ignite more employment opportunities across the food value chain.

If we can move crops efficiently between countries, build partnerships and broker effective trade deals, it would be a significant step on the road to self-reliance.

Imagine being able to move crops seamlessly between Nigeria – the biggest producer of yams and cassavas – and Kenya; or between South Africa and Uganda – one of the biggest tea and coffee producers in the world.

This kind of approach, coupled with moves to develop infrastructure that facilitates cross-border trade under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), could create exponential growth in intra-Africa trade over the next few years.

It is important to remember that global trade in the form of exports remains critical. Exports provide African countries with foreign exchange to invest in the infrastructure that will be needed to become self-sufficient. Infrastructure that will help countries convert raw crops into final food products for consumption, as well as exports.

Read also GIRSAL unveils knowledge portal to improve agric lending, investments

One also cannot ignore the growing role of technology in Africa’s agricultural sector. According to the African Development Bank, there are currently more than 350 agritech companies operating on the continent; and Covid-19 has accelerated digital adoption across all sectors, not just farming.

In Africa, 70-80% of produce is generated by smallholders – the majority of whom are subsistence farmers. All these farmers own a mobile phone and can potentially contribute to the agribusiness value chain by becoming out-growers who sell into the milling and processing companies, and to exporters.

The new buzzword in digitisation is ‘platforms’. By leveraging off the ‘network effect’, the objective is to bring the whole food value chain together to ensure the easy flow of inputs and produce across the value chain while seamlessly enabling payments and collections, as well as access to knowledge and democratising data.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the ideal playground for this technology based on the complexities around smallholder producers, the lack of infrastructure and markets.

For agribusiness to grow, farmers and everyone else in the value chain must embrace these technologies which improve crop yields, lower costs, create efficiencies and bring them closer to the end-consumer.

Governments and regulators are taking stock of global shifts that have been brought about by COVID-19. They are seeing a moderation from pure reliance on globalisation and a shift toward de-globalisation in respect of food security.

COVID-19 has also cast a harsh light on many countries’ over-reliance on food imports and the challenges during a pandemic.

Read also Ghana: Empowering farmers to improve productivity, Solidaridad supports farmers

All of these factors point to the need to examine how Africa reimagines agribusiness and the opportunities it presents.

As we continue to navigate the pandemic, Africa has been presented with an opportunity to strengthen regional relations in agribusiness and finally start down the road to self-sufficiency when it comes to food security.

The writer is the Head Agri Business Pan Africa – Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank Group

Export strategy eyes US$1bn revenue from cashew in 10 years

The Ghana Exports Promotion Authority (GEPA), through its flagship project the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS), has outlined plans to boost cashew exports by as much as 320 percent from its current earnings to the country.

Currently, the crop is the second-largest contributor to non-traditional exports with earnings of US$237.8million in 2019. But through the NEDS project, GEPA seeks to increase the amount to more than US$1billion by 2029.

Some of the strategic interventions that GEPA plans to implement in the cashew industry to boost production and increase revenue include developing and supplying high-yielding disease-resistant grafted planting materials; establishing scion banks in major cashew growing areas; and liaising with private nursery operators to produce grafted planting materials.

Other strategies contained in the NEDS for the industry are: undertaking mass spraying of cashew farms to control pests and diseases; capacity building and training programmes on cashew farm best practices; and instituting land reforms that reduce bureaucracy and streamline access to land.

The cashew industry has over the years faced many challenges which have affected growth of the sector. Some of the challenges include low production of Raw Cashew Nuts (RCN); poor post-harvest handling practices; high cost of transport and energy; and the high cost of plant protection which makes farms prone to diseases and pests.

Read also Ghana: Empowering farmers to improve productivity, Solidaridad supports farmers

Other challenges include a bureaucratic land tenure system that has been a limiting factor to plantation development; inadequate access to finance; a small domestic market; and the struggle for local processors to mechanise and expand.

The Association of Cashew Processors Ghana (ACPG) has constantly called on government to quicken the pace of setting up the Tree Crop Development Authority to deal with the many challenges within the cashew industry.

According to the association, challenges such as an unfair Raw Cashew Nut (RCN) market, poor storage, lack of appropriate finance and improper relationships among some stakeholders within the industry can be dealt with by the Authority.

Data from the association show that there are more than 12 large and small-scale processing companies in the country, with over 27,000mt installed processing capacity. With the coming on board of Brazil’s largest processor, Usibras, with its 35,000mt plant, the total processing capacity is now more than 60,000mt.

Read also GIRSAL unveils knowledge portal to improve agric lending, investments

Data from GEPA also indicate that Ghana exports an average of 150,000mt of RCN annually. The NEDS envisions that by 2029 the country will reach annual local cashew harvests of at least 500,000 metric tonnes – enough to satisfy the raw material needs of local processors.

Cashew processing is a source of employment to thousands of farmers, with over 65 percent being women; and about 200 jobs are generated per 1,000 tonnes of cashew.

GEPA is set to invest over US$600million during the next ten years, in a bid to diversify the economy through Non-Traditional Exports (NTEs).

Read also Agric requires strong regulatory authority – Agribusiness Chamber

The NEDS is developed around three main strategic pillars – which seek to expand and diversify the supply base for value added industrial export products and services; improve the business, regulatory environment for export; and build and expand the required human capital for industrial export development and marketing.

Agric requires strong regulatory authority – Agribusiness Chamber

The nation’s agriculture sector has come of age and needs a regulatory authority to strategically streamline activities for economic growth, Anthony Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber of Agribusiness Ghana, has said.

According to him, the authority must be akin to the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) or the National Communications Authority (NCA) and clothed with similar powers to enable it harness the full potential of the sector.

Mr. Morrison, has explained that the authority, among other things, would be able to coordinate all agricultural research done by various institutions and plot a pragmatic vision for the sector backed by prudent timelines and well monitored.

According to data released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the agriculture sector was able to withstand shocks of the coronavirus pandemic and grew by 5.9 percent, whereas industry and services both grew at 5.7 percent in the third quarter of 2019, an indication that, even with the many challenges faced by stakeholders, the sector holds the greatest economic potential for the nation.

For Mr. Morrison, the sector has seen some massive development in recent times (Planting for Food and Jobs among others), but its growth could have been exponential if it was treated as a trade rather than a venture to assure food security.

He told the paper that the introduction of an authority to oversee the production, sales and marketing of six major tree crops in the country (Crops Authority) is an action laudable but a limitation of the sector’s potential as there are many vested issues that go beyond the six crops to be regulated.

Read also GIRSAL unveils knowledge portal to improve agric lending, investments

“We need to create the Ghana Agriculture Regulatory Authority, this has been long overdue. If you have this authority, you can now go ahead and create the Ghana Agriculture Information Management System. This can be used to coordinate the activities of all the research institutions connected to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA).

“Agriculture is now a trade: from the seed, to the service, to the attraction of consultants, the chemicals, fertilizers, agro machinery, drones and sensors, technology, internet of things, everything that we do is trade: it is money, no longer a hobby.

“We need to regulate farming, we need to regulate and make it a big industry and we need to regulate it to boost the economy,” Mr. Morrison said.

He added that: “If we emphasize and concentrate on the agricultural sector, which has more than 10million connected to it directly or indirectly, according to the MOFA facts and figures. What are we waiting for to regulate the industry properly?”

Read also Ghana: Agriculture sector remains resilient amidst COVID-19 scare – Kwasi Korboe

The Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) has a gathering of Ghanaian business leaders to chart the path to economic prosperity. It took place on November 9 and 10, 2020 at the Kempinski Hotel, Gold Coast City, Accra. The event was on the theme: ‘Resetting the economy beyond COVID-19; Building economic resilience and self-sufficiency.’

It was designed to bring together over 500 local and international business leaders to dialogue and chart a clear path for Ghanaian businesses to hone the Ghanaian economy.

This year’s discussions was focus on several areas including energy, agriculture, entrepreneurship and innovation, banking and finance, and other areas crucial to the development of the economy of Ghana.

Ghana: Agriculture sector remains resilient amidst COVID-19 scare – Kwasi Korboe

Mr Kwasi Korboe, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Incentive Base Risk-Sharing System for Agriculture Lending (GILSAL), says the agriculture sector remained resilient in the mire of the debilitating COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the resilience of the sector sprang from the vast impact the sector had on other parts of the economy, stating that raw material and food items produced remained relevant during the pandemic.

Read also Ghanaian Farmer awarded for anti-bushfire campaign at Adaklu

He said the production of Cocoa, Cashew and other cash crop product was not affected despite the lockdown and restrictions in the fight to contain COVID-19.

Speaking at a panel discussion organised by the Institute of Statistical Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, he said the advent of COVID-19 had shown that the Agricultural sector needed to be taken seriously.

The discussion was on the theme: “Boosting Agricultural value Chain in the midst of COVID-19 and political party Manifestos”.

He said to boost the sector, there was the need for targeted investment into efficient production system and infrastructure, promoting food security and industrialisation, encouraging contiguous farmers to take advantage of mechanisation and cost efficient methods.

Additionally, he said to drive the industry, maximize yields and preservation of products, new arrangements should be considered for agro processing companies to keep products safe.

Professor Peter Quartey, Director, ISSER, speaking on the manifestos presented by the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress on agriculture, he said both documents were filled with promises and expected that a clearer means for funding those initiatives was captured.

He said the source of funding remained a challenge for farmers and that interest rates on loan facilities remained high.

Professor Irene S Egyir of the Department of Agriculture Economics and Agribusiness, University of Ghana, said there was the need for better incentives to make Agribusiness attractive to the youth.

“Even my students are not willing to go into Agriculture because the sector lacks good incentives,” she said.

She said farmers had to keep to manual farming because they could not afford mechanised systems and the use of modern technological software and gadgets in their production.

She said the reduction of interest rates on loans contracted by farmers would make their work much easier and boost productivity.

Read also Tackle seasonal fall armyworm disease proactively – Maize farmers to Govt

Dr John S.Y. Eleblu, Lecturer, Bio-tech Centre, University of Ghana, said the used of improved seeds and technology was the way to boost production of farm produce.

He said the use of technology, improved infrastructure and research development would help reduce post harvest losses of farm produce.

Dr Fred Dzanku, Senior Research Fellows, ISSER, said research should be related to policy and practice in developing the sector.

He said since the birth of the 4th republic, all party manifestos had captured the improvement of irrigation farms but farms under irrigation still remained two per cent nationwide.

He said there was the need to improve irrigation farms due to the impact of climate change on production.

OCP AFRICA trains 200 Agric Extension Agents and Farmer Aggregators

OCP Africa has organised a 4-day training workshop for 200 Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs) and Aggregators in Bono East, Upper East, Upper West, North East, Ashanti, Oti and Eastern Regions.

The workshop, which was part of the agri-booster programme, was within the framework of a partnership agreement between OCP Africa and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

A statement from OCP Africa said the training was aimed at building capacities of the AEAs in line with OCP Africa’s 2020 Agribooster Campaign.

The training enlightened participants on tools and skills on farmer dynamics, Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), farming as a business (Business skills), post-harvest operations, and marketing of harvested crops among others.

Mr Samuel Oduro, Country Manager of OCP Africa Ghana, said: “Aside the provision of farm inputs in the agribooster programme, we at OCP Africa believe the success of the programme partly depends on building the knowledge base of Agricultural Extension Agents (AEAs), who will transfer the knowledge gained to small-holder farmers.”

He said women in the OCP Africa agribooster programme had also supported about 5000 women small-holder farmers, cultivating maize and rice with 1,250 metric tonnes of improved fertilizers, land preparation services and agricultural transformation equipment, with expected yield of 5000 metric tons.

Read also Agricultural industrialization, government’s focus – Chief Executive

Reverend John Manu, Ashanti Regional Director, MoFA, said: “The dynamism in the agricultural landscape and the impact of COVID-19 on agriculture makes this training programme very vital for Extension Agents and farmer Aggregators in the country.”

“Our partnership with OCP Africa has been very fruitful and beneficial and I believe the agricultural industry, especially small-holder farmers will be positively impacted in the midst of COVID-19, he added.

The statement said the 2019 Agribooster Campaign trained 87 extension officers, 400 lead farmers and 42,605 smallholder farmers on Good Agricultural Practices.

Additionally, 3,700 metric tonnes of NPK fertilizers were supplied to 14,800 smallholder farmers, cultivating a total of 37,000 acres.

It said their yields increased from 1.8 metric tonnes per hectare to 2.6 metric tonnes, representing an increase of 44 per cent.

OCP Africa, established in 2016, as a subsidiary of OCP Group, aims to contribute to the development of integrated agricultural ecosystems in Africa.

It works hand in hand with farmers to help grow the agricultural potential of the African continent through solutions adapted to local conditions and to the needs of soils and crops.

Read also NABCO trainee wins Best Agric Extension Agent

In partnership with a network of partners, including governments, non-profit organisations, and companies, OCP Africa works continuously to put all the necessary conditions for the benefit of farmers.

OCP Africa is present in many African countries through the opening of subsidiaries and/or representative offices in Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Benin, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, and Rwanda.

It is also helping to secure the production of competitive fertilizers near major agricultural pools, to strengthen its logistical capacities and to develop new local distribution networks.

Source: GNA

Chief Executive appeals to Ghanaians to support government’s agribusiness policies

The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Shai-Osudoku, Mr Daniel Akuffo, has appealed to Ghanaians to support government efforts to promote agribusiness.

He said government policies on agribusiness were yielding positive results with the establishment of a tomato factory at Sha-Hills and a mango factory at Manya Jorpanya in the Greater Accra Region.

Mr Akuffo made the appeal during the celebration of the 2020 Farmers’ Day at Kadjanya in the Shai-Osudoku District of the Greater Accra Region.

He bemoaned a disturbing phenomenon in the District in which the greenbelt land earmarked for agriculture purposes being aggressively taken over by estate developers and asked chiefs and opinion leaders to look at by the chiefs and opinion leaders to maintain it for its intended purpose.

Read also NABCO trainee wins Best Agric Extension Agent

The DCE commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for visionary leadership which led to the launch of a number of agriculture sector support initiatives aimed at modernizing agriculture and to create sustainable jobs for the citizenry.

Mr Akuffo said the outbreak of the COVID-19 had taught Ghanaians a lesson to strive in their endeavours to be self-sufficient in every sector of their economic life while expressing gratitude to farmers for their contributions towards the development of the country.

Mr Jerry Ahmed Shaib, the Chief Executive Officer of the Coastal Development Authority (CODA) urged farmers and fishermen to take advantage of the many presidential initiatives on agriculture to boost their production and profit.

Read also Ghana: Food and Drugs Authority sensitizes corn millers on food safety management

He said the CODA has put in place plans to support farmers and fishers in the district with credit facilities with negligible interest for which they do not need collateral to apply, while urging them to send their farm produce to the new markets at Dodowa and Asutuare to sell.

Mr Isaac Akuffo was adjudged the overall Best Farmer for Shai-Osudoku and was presented with various farming implements.

Ghana Gov’t applauds 10-year impact of pre-harvest agribusiness exhibition and conference on agribusiness

The International Monetary Fund has projected a deep coronavirus-induced global recession, which threatens a nearly 4% drop in world GDP and could drag the GDP of African economies into a fall of about 1.4%, with smaller economies facing a contraction of up to 7.8%.

These losses will have repercussions on Africa’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and Africa’s Agenda 2063. With at least 60% of the African population dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods and access to food, any trade-related distortions to the sector can threaten the food security of the continent’s poor.

In addition to the impact of extreme climate shocks on agricultural productivity, there is a strong positive correlation between economic recession and food insecurity in Africa.

Despite the continent’s huge resource endowments (including a wide availability of arable land, and a young, growing labour force, among other factors), the continent’s agricultural production alone, hampered by distribution, access, and affordability challenges, is insufficient to meet its food security needs.

From 2016 to 2018, Africa imported about 85% of its food from outside the continent, leading to an annual food import bill of $35 billion, which is forecast to reach $110 billion by 2025. This heavy reliance on world markets is detrimental to food security, especially at a time of acute crisis.

A situation exacerbated by the current COVID-19 crisis through its direct impacts on trade, logistics, production and value chains. In several African countries, the disruption of marketing and trade activities, and COVID-19-related panic-buying, exacerbated food price increases (especially cereals) between March and June.

National policy responses to limit the impact of COVID-19 on food markets in Africa have varied, from the removal of value-added taxes on food products to export restrictions on key food items.

In Ghana, government has mooted plans to do more through its flagship agriculture policy, planting for Food and Jobs to try to consolidate the huge impact made in the last three years and also act as a basis for the rebound of the local agriculture industry.

At the commemorative 10th edition of the Annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions held in the Northern Regional Capital, Tamale in October 2020 under the Theme: Covid-19 And Beyond; Solutions for Agricultural Transformation, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Sagre Bambangi and Hon. Salifu Sa-eed, the Regional Minister for the Northern Region expressed governments unalloyed support for the annual Pre-harvest event while baring thoughts on a myriad of issues bothering on agribusiness.

Being the 10th anniversary of the event, the thematic emphasis focused on exploring solutions for transformation of the industry in view of the uncertainties created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibition and Conference is structured to give extraordinary opportunity for participants to meet with farmers of all commodities to negotiate and seal deals.

The platform also afforded Participants an opportunity to meet fertilizer, 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 address, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture Dr. Sagre Bambangi said: “Allow me to commend Agri-house and its partners for growing this event into a key platform for grooming our farmers and other value chain actors for more impact.

“This is the expectation of government – to see the private sector play a central role in championing initiatives that complement the impact of its policies for agriculture.

“Though the industry endured a blip owing to the fallout of the covid-19 pandemic, I believe the organisers have structured the event to reflect mechanisms and methodologies that will help our farmers rise tall once again.

“My conviction is borne out of the event theme this year which clearly underscores the need to consider solutions that will help agriculture rebound post Covid-19. The theme “Covid-19 And Beyond; Solutions for Agricultural Transformation is therefore opportune.

“I believe the theme mirrors the kind of approach we need to get the sector up and running at optimum level. This solution as captured by the theme will give participants an opportunity to meet fertilizer, irrigation and seed companies, tractor, machinery and equipment dealers, technology firms, banks and financial institutions, processors, researchers, government institutions, development partners to interact, learn more and partner for growth and expansion.”

Read also Accessing loan and chemicals in COVID-19 was difficult – Hohoe Best Farmer

He continued: “Agribusiness is the future we all want to see. A renewed emphasis on value addition as this event seeks to project is crucial to improving the capacity of value chain actors through providing inputs to farmers, connecting them to consumers through general handling, processing, transporting, marketing and the distribution of agricultural products.

“Indeed, the world has moved on from subsistence agriculture and we must follow suit to bring governments expectation of a more robust agriculture sector for Ghana to pass.”

He extolled government’s commitment to growing agriculture and highlighted the impact of the Planting for Food and Jobs policy introduced by government in 2017 to revamp agriculture in the country and other allied policies like the One District One Factory, One District among others.

“Government’s commitment to making agriculture the undisputed lifeblood of the economy remains evergreen. Indeed, since assuming office, the government of His Excellency, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has demonstrated this with a combination of unprecedented policy programs that have helped improve agriculture.

“This intervention has targeted irrigation, increased production, job creation and agribusiness as a means of phasing the era of simplistic and unambitious agriculture. All of this interventions which have become household names because of their relevance and impact have collectively improved the fortunes of agriculture.

“The policy programs which include: The Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) campaign to increase productivity and production for food security, raw material supply by industry and employment;

“The One Village, One Dam (IVID) programme to ensure‚ availability of adequate water for agricultural production all year round, especially in the northern regions’’

“The One District, One Factory programme aimed at transforming the structure of the economy from one dependent on production and export of raw materials, to a value-added industrialized economy, driven primarily by the private sector; are set to be the basis for government’s plan to revamp the agriculture sector post COVID-19.

“All these policies are designed by government to incite the transformation of agribusinesses and serve as a key source of jobs and socio-economic transformation,” he concluded.

On his part The Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Salifu Sa-eed spoke copiously on a decade of impact inspired by the event and assured of governments continued support for the event and similar initiatives.

Read also Kufuor praised as he retires from Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition

“I am pleased to be here again to witness this great event, and to extend to you, government’s enduring commitment to the agriculture sector.

“Government acknowledges the centrality of farming to our development agenda, that is why I endorse the Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference Event for its remarkable contribution to farmers in this region in the last decade.

“In the last ten years we all have been witnesses to the growth and business expansion that this event has inspired for agriculture.

“The people of this region and all adjoining regions owe a debt of gratitude to Agri-house Foundation and her partners for their mammoth contribution to agriculture in this region through the organization of this event.

“We are truly proud to have hosted this agric showpiece thus far and assure all of our continued support and hospitality for this event and the participants it attracts to this beautiful region. “

He acknowledged the centrality of agriculture to the economic fortunes of the Northern region and called for improved productivity through agribusiness.

Read also I’m making more money from agriculture than when I was in corporate world – 2018 National Best Farmer

“Agriculture is undoubtedly the bedrock of Ghana’s economy. Indeed, the sector employs more people than any industry and supports the nutrition of citizens through the provision of food.

“This is partly the motivation for governments flagship agriculture policy, the Planting for Food and Jobs which has been a massive success so far.

“The Pre-Harvest Conference and Exhibition is therefore a strategic platform that requires even more support from development partners and all friends of agriculture to consolidate the gains achieved in the last ten (10).

“In the years ahead we will like to see increased partnerships that will scale up the capacity of this event to attract participants from across borders so that we can do more for the present and future of agriculture through agri-business.

“Giving businesses a platform that helps them thrive agribusinesses is strategic to Ghana’s economic development. Agribusiness creates important linkages and encourages investment in a way that can have strong multiplier effects on growth.

Read also Ghanaian Professor, Francis Dodoo Awarded Prestigious British Academy Global Professorship

“It is key to fighting food insecurity, not only because it stimulates increased production but also due to It’s potential to create wealth for smallholders and rural communities. “

“We are committed to bridging the poverty gap in society, and agribusiness clearly holds the opportunities for this through private sector investment in off farm activities and other collaborations.

“The large pool of stakeholders it attracts makes the event the ideal platform for inciting transformative growth for agribusiness in Ghana and particularly in the Northern Region where a significant chunk of agriculture production takes place.

“Aside the introduction of government’s headline agric policies, the government through its agencies are working assiduously to achieve: Improved Productivity levels, Commercial orientation of production to meet market demands, Policies that crowd in the private sector and promote strong public private partnerships (PPP) in areas of market failure, increasing infrastructure investments such as roads, energy and water for processing, promoting consumption of food produced locally among others.

“Agribusiness creates important linkages and encourages investment in a way that can have strong multiplier effects on growth. It is key to fighting food insecurity, not only because it stimulates increased production but also due to It’s potential to create wealth for smallholders and rural communities.

“All these interventions are aimed at creating the enabling environment for the transformation of agribusinesses so as to provide employment to the unemployed youth and enhance income for smallholder farmers. “he ended.

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The 10th Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibitions and Conference was organized by Agri-house Foundation, Ghana’s foremost non-governmental agricultural social impact, capacity building, innovation and project management organization with a special focus on changing the perception of, and consciously shaping the conversation on agriculture through the promotion of people-impact initiatives and programs for students, women, farmers, farming associations, agribusinesses and the entire actors within the value chain.

The event this year enjoyed the partnership and sponsorship support of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, The European Union, Yara Ghana, Ecobank, the Northern Regional Coordinating Council and the Agricultural Development Bank.

Accessing loan and chemicals in COVID-19 was difficult – Hohoe Best Farmer

The Hohoe Municipal Best Farmer, Mr Emmanuel Ababio, on Friday said access to agricultural incentives including loans and chemicals were difficult for farmers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said although there were loans available, the interest rates were high, hence the need to fall on family and friends to sustain production.

Mr Ababio, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), on the side-lines of the Farmers Day celebration, disclosed that the Government should intervene and support farmers with incentives through the Agricultural Ministry with access to loans at lower rates.

He said farmers could also be supported before the dry seasons to equip them to save their farms from bush fires and also help those whose farms might be destroyed by fires.

Mr Ababio urged the youth to endeavour to engage in farming whether employed or unemployed adding: “Youth in agriculture is excellence, farming pays.”

He received a radio set, certificate, deep freezer and a knapsack sprayer as his prize.

Mr Andrews Teddy Ofori, Hohoe Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), commended farmers and fishermen within the Municipality for tirelessly producing enough to feed citizens adding that the New Patriotic Party-led government would always support them to continue to produce more.

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“You will all agree with me that the NPP government’s achievements in the agricultural sector to grow more food for our people, produce raw materials for local industry consumption and export have been tremendous.”

He said the incident of rampant bushfires was destroying farms, property and threat to food security and appealed to the public to avoid indiscriminate and careless activities that would cause fires.

He urged Assembly members to begin community engagements to avert bushfires in the Municipality.

Mr Ofori called on the people to conduct all campaign activities in a peaceful manner to avoid violence ahead of the December polls.

Madam Sandra Ofori, Hohoe Municipal Director of Agriculture, said the celebration emphasised the need to focus on the development of Agribusiness as a response to trigger development during the pandemic while feeding households as well as the nation.

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“The COVID-19 has presented a lot of challenges in the agricultural sector, especially in extension delivery. The weekly meetings between field staff and farmers have to be reduced and increase the use of communication technologies such as phones.”

She said the Directorate had established 24 maize and four home garden sites, 16 rice and livestock demonstrations across the Municipality including demonstrations on food processing like fortified gari numeric as well as food processing techniques.

Madam Ofori noted that more than 75 per cent of people in the area were involved in agriculture, both as commercial and subsistence.

“A lot of agribusinesses are springing up within the Municipality and some of them are exporting their produce outside the country. In all, the socio-economic development of the Municipality is heavily dependent on agricultural activities including processing and the need for more attention on agriculture.”

Togbe Adzofuwusu, the Divisional Chief of Gbi-Atabu, said farmers’ contribution to food security could not be underestimated, and notwithstanding the effects of the Covid-19, farmers were relentless in production to feed households and nations.

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Mr Clemence Yaw Atta from Likpe Kukurantumi, received the-best Physically Challenged Farmer Award, Madam Rebecca Mensah, received the Municipal Best Processor, and Madam Martha Gamor, took the Municipal Best Agriculture Worker.

Consolation prizes; Knapsack sprayers, a set of wellington boots and cutlasses were also given to five farmers from the area.

The 36th National Farmers’ Day is on the theme: “Ensuring Agribusiness Development under COVID-19; Opportunities and Challenges.”

Farmers Day 2020: Vida Boame emerges best Krachi East Municipal farmer

Madam Vida Boame has emerged the overall Krachi East Municipal best farmer at the 36th National Farmer’s Day celebration held at Nwane in the Krachi East Municipality of the Oti Region.

The 56-year-old farmer was presented with a certificate, a tricycle, two knapsack sprayers, five cutlasses, two pairs of Wellington boots, two insecticide agro-chemicals and two bars of key soap.

She cultivated five acres of maize, 22 acres of groundnuts, four acres of rice, three acres of cassava, one-and-half acres of yam, two acres of pepper and owns four canoes for fishing.

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Madam Boame acknowledged the benefits of agriculture to her household and that it enabled her to sponsor the children to school and urged others to join the farming business.

She was grateful for emerging overall Municipal Best Farmer and thanked the government and the Municipal Agriculture department and extension officers for their support.

Mr Michael Yaw Gyato, the Member of Parliament (MP), for Krachi East Constituency, who is seeking re-election, urged his constituents to embrace farming and pursue it as full-time business.

He advised the constituents to come out on December 7, and vote for President Akufo-Addo to continue his good policies, while voting to retain him as Member of Parliament for the area.

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Mr Patrick Chartey Jilima, Municipal Chief Executive, told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the Municipality distributed 1,176 cashew seedlings to farmers under the Ghana Planting for Food and Export and Rural Development (PERD) programme, which is expected to enhance the country’s foreign exchange earning capacity and create jobs.

He urged farmers to adopt good farming practices by following the instructions of the agricultural extension officers to improve yields to feed the nation and beyond.

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In all, 15 farmers in the Krachi East Municipality were awarded at the event.

The items presented were two refrigerators, one tricycle, seven bicycles, one motorbike, knapsack spraying machines, cutlasses, silver bowls, key soaps, Wellington boots and insecticide agro-chemicals.

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