Opinions of Sat, 12 Aug 20170
Unlocking Africa’s potential to create wealth from agriculture
“There is an unbelievable contrast today in Africa: how can a continent with such an abundance of arable land, water and sunshine annually import food worth USD35billion? This must change,”Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Ghana situation is not very different from this observation about Africa.
The theme for FAGRO 2017(8th National Food & Agric Show): CREATING JOBS IN AGRICULTURE –NORTHERN REGION IN FOCUS –is also about creating wealth from agriculture in the Northern Region.
For the youth to go into agriculture, it must be profitable. This starts with farmer profitability, which can be attained by the enhanced productivity of the farmer. To achieve this, the farmer needs to get the right inputs at the right time with the right technical support.
In this direction, the Yara Crop NutritionSolutions which focuses on targeted fertilizer protocols for targeted crops will ensure the farmer makes the best yield to enhance his profitability.
This has been tested through collaborative demonstrations and research with SARI (Savanna Agricultural Research Institute) and other research institutes and on field demonstrations with farmers with proven results.
The government’s Planting for Food & Jobs Program is a laudable program which among other things is targeting providing inputs – fertilizers, the right seeds, chemicals, and extension services to farmers. These are critical to ensure the profitability of the farmer.
The inputs must be accessible to the farmers in the hinterlands where most of the farming takes place. In the Northern Region alone, Yara Ghana, works with over 150 local partners in the fertilizer and inputs distribution chain, thus creating jobs and also making fertilizers and other inputs accessible to farming communities.
There is also more to be done in this area, and Yara is committed to continue its drive to support the agriculture value chain. This will create jobs In the entire value chain.
In the area of technical support, Yara Ghana is committed to augmenting the effort of the Ministry of Food & Agriculture’s extension services, which is one of the key focus areas in the governments planting for Food and Jobs Program.
We have 13 agronomists covering the three Northern Regions conducting farmers clinics, farmers field days, demonstrations and training farmers on best farming practices.
To sustain the farmer profitability and create jobs in the agricultures value chain, there need to be a ready market for the farmers’ produce.
There is also the need for financial institutions to have an appetite for financing the agriculture value chain.