A market access linkage event has been held for value-chain actors in the agricultural sector to interact amongst themselves, and strike their own business deals in terms of quantities and quality of produce they require and determine the price.
Major value-chain actors in the maize, soybean, and rice sectors in the Northern Region including input dealers, service providers, farmers, off-takers, and processors attended the day's event held in Tamale.
It was organised as part of the Savannah Zone Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP), which is being implemented by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture with funding from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB).
SAPIP seeks to transform agricultural value chains for food and nutrition security, job and wealth creation.
Mr Felix Darimaani, the National Coordinator of SAPIP, who addressed the event, said it was important because marketing was always a challenge to farmers, hence, the event to ensure that "We establish strong linkages such that even after the project, farmers can call the off-takers to buy their produce."
SAPIP is also implementing the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation in the Savannah (TAAT-S) under the AfDB's Feed Africa Strategy initiative, which aims to test at scale, viable commercial conservation agriculture system in the northern savannah ecological zone for the promotion of maize-soybean-poultry value chains.
In this vein, a total land area of about 8,148 hectres were cultivated in the 2020 cropping season to high yielding maize hybrids and soybean varieties using best agricultural practices under conservation agriculture.
The expanded TAAT-S initiative is expected to reach 15,000 hectres in 2021, and 20,000 hectres in 2024.
Mr Darimaani said, "We are supporting thousands of farmers to produce rice, soybean and maize, and so we have to ensure that our farmers do not just produce and are unable to market. We have to ensure that they are able to market their produce and get good money for their labour."
He said "agriculture is profitable and people should invest in it" urging farmers to have profit-oriented mentality and not thinking of farming as subsistence.
He further urged farmers, who benefited from the free inputs under the project, to pay back to enable others to also benefit to make the project successful and sustainable.
Alhaji Mashud Mohammed, a large-scale soybean farmer in the Northern Region, spoke about the support farmers received under SAPIP and said it had helped them to cultivate large acreages of soybean, rice, and maize, and their yields also increased.
He said this meant that they (farmers) required a market for their produce lauding the annual market linkage event saying last year's event helped them to connect with poultry farmers in Kumasi, who bought all their soybeans and maize.
Mr Kwame Agyeman Tuffour, President of the Association of Feed Millers of Ghana, said the event had always helped them to get the right quantities of feed for their poultry for the growth of their industry.