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Pre-Harvest 2020: An important platform to assist farmers and the value chain actors to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 10th annual Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Exhibition and Conference have been ushered irrespective of the global pandemic with the theme: Covid-19 And Beyond; Solutions for Agricultural Transformation at Aliu Mahama Stadium, Tamale to create a platform to help farmers and the value chain actors to recover from the pandemic and continue on the good path of sustainable growth.

The Northern Regional Minister, Hon. Salifu Sa-eed welcomed the farmers, stakeholders, and the participants for making this year’s agribusiness conference and exhibition a success in the midst of the pandemic.

He lauded the Pre-harvest conference for creating a unique avenue for farmers to meet with the input dealers like fertilizer, irrigation, and seed companies, tractor machinery and equipment dealers, technology firms, banks and financial institutions, and a lot more at this crucial moment.

“The Pre-harvest has attracted value chain actors particularly farmers, buyers, processors, transporters, financial institutions, telecom companies and policymakers to a single forum that present unique opportunities for growth and expansion”, he added.

To him, the large pool of stakeholders makes the event the ideal platform for inciting transformation growth for agribusiness in Ghana and particularly in the Northern Region where a significant chunk of agriculture production takes place.

In a keynote address read on behalf of the Hon. Minister of State for Food and Agriculture, the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hon. Sagri Bambangi said that the theme for the year clearly underscores the need to consider solutions that will help agriculture rebound post-Covid-19.

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

He underlines the future of agribusiness as a renewed emphasis on value addition as the event seeks to project by improving the capacity of value chain actors through providing inputs to farmers and connecting them to consumers through general handling, processing, transporting marketing, and distribution of agricultural products.

He urged all farmers to follow suit as the world has moved from subsistence agriculture and bring to light the government’s vision of a more robust agriculture sector for Ghana to realize.

Gracing the opening of the Pre-harvest conference, the Ambassador of the European Union of Ghana Her Excellency Mrs. Diana Acconcia added that European Union has been committed to supporting Ghana to find effective responses to the Covid-19 crisis and this called for sponsoring this year’s event.

According to her, the event offers a great opportunity to exchange ideas on how to work better together with the national and international entities, public and private actors for the benefit of northern Ghana as a whole.

H. E mentioned that it is a great opportunity to discover the untapped potential to enhance the growth of agriculture in Ghana

She delightfully thank all the supporting partners, stakeholders, and Agri-house Foundation for making it possible for this year’s event.

In an interview with the Private Sector Team Leader of USAID, Pearl Ackah, uttered that despite the significant disruptions in the agricultural sector due to the pandemic, Agri-house considered it vital to continue discussions about the agricultural sector and enhance access to the market.

She assured that USAID continues to provide support to the sector through ADVANCE to reduce the impact of Covid-19 in 17 districts in northern Ghana. “Our appreciation to ADVANCE for its work to mitigate the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on agricultural stakeholders and the Agrihouse Foundation for its role in organizing this event”, she issued.

“It is critical that we strengthen our commitments to collaborate, provide solutions for agriculture transformation, and assist farmers and businesses in the sector to overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic”, she advised.

She entreated all to utilize the knowledge and the skills that would be derived from the training sessions to promote the sector.

To end it all, the Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa complimented the enormous support from USAID-ADVANCE, “We remain ever grateful to the vision of the USAID-ADVANCE whose foresight produced the master programme that we have been building on to come thus far”.

To mention few contributions of the Pre-Harvest event to farmers and the stakeholders in the agriculture value chain for the past nine years, the initiative has provided long-term market opportunities to over 97,000 less privileged farmers in the northern part of the country. The event has boosted the capacity of over 400 farmer-based organizations and aggregators to step up their role as market actors. The event has provided a platform for more than 10,000 commodity buyers to establish business relationships for the marketing of their produce.

She beseeched the chiefs, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and the Northern Regional Coordinating Council to allocate land for building Agric Project or event and training centre for the training of the young promising youth, as well as women.

Madam Alberta expressed her profound gratitude to the farmers, stakeholders, supporting partners, sponsors, the invited guests, and all participants for their support and time to converge at this year’s event irrespective of the pandemic.