Mr Francis Ennor, the Upper East Regional Director of Agriculture, has urged farmers to make sure of available market before producing as marketing is the driving force in the Agricultural business.
He said there was the need to ensure good quality of produce that would attract market, “the era where farmers produced before finding market for their products is past and quality is a determinant factor in this present competitive business world,” he added.
Mr Ennor made the call at a meeting held in Bolgatanga for Agricultural stakeholders in the value chain, made up of producers, input dealers, aggregators, farmers, sellers, buyers, financial institutions, processors, representatives of the Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX) and National Food Buffer Stock Company(NAFCo).
Highlighting the purpose of the meeting, the Director said understanding the challenges of stakeholders would enhance business relationships for a Regional Agribusiness Partnership Platform(RABP), which was part of strategies of the Regional Agricultural Directorate, to facilitate key linkages with actors in the value chain, where MoFA staff will in turn be positioned in the various districts to oversee the creation and operations of similar platforms and guide them in the standards they set for themselves.
According to him, the RABP approach was part of the objectives of the Modernization of Agriculture in Ghana (MAG) programme.
Speaking on the theme, “Facilitating and sustaining markets for agricultural commodities in the region”, he said the Regional Directorate was focusing mainly on the relevance of the value chain and agribusiness development.
He said the regional production, consumption and surplus in 2019 was proof of the potential of food production in the area to feed a large proportion of the country and noted that maize production last year was 99,777 metric tonnes and had a surplus of 51,274metric tonnes as only 48,503 metric tonnes was consumed.
He indicated that 59,456 metric tonnes of rice was produced in the same year, 2019, and 36,955 was consumed with remaining surplus of 22,501 MT.
According to him, soya bean production in the Region in 2019 was 16,991 metric tonnes with a surplus of 11,217 metric tonnes after consumption.
The Region had a cumulative surplus of 84,992 metric tonnes of maize, rice and soya beans. He was however worried about the surplus food and attributed it to poor market linkages between the actors which provided market agents in the local markets more room to operate at the disadvantage of producers.
“The importance of market linkages and its implication for development of the region cannot be over stated”, the Director said. Mr Abdulai Mohammed, the Regional Manager, National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCo) in a presentation, noted key achievements in the area of market linkages and licensing of food buying companies and suppliers that buy grains on behalf of the company.
He mentioned areas of possible collaboration on the platform as food storage infrastructure, farmer and buyer linkages among others. MAG is funded by the government of Canada to support and increase the efficiency of local farmers through value chain development.
It supports the Department of Agriculture to give extension services to farmers at the local levels, with a focus on increasing access to essential services.
The second of MAG is to support specialized agricultural services to build national market linkages and promote efficiencies in commodity development along value chains.