A Market Development (MADE) Programme for Northern Ghana has organised a workshop on produce aggregation for selected agribusiness operators and smallholder farmers to enable them to derive maximum benefits from their investments.
The meeting was attended by chief executives and senior managers in agribusiness drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions. It was organised with funding from the United Kingdom Agency for International Development (UKaid).
The focus of the workshop was how participants can adopt business models in produce aggregation to obtain maximum benefits from their investments and also to ensure that small-holder farmers get good prices for their produce.
The two-day workshop was held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.
According to the Team Leader of the MADE programme, Mr Augustine Adongo, the workshop forms part of interventions by MADE since 2014 to help improve on the fortunes of the people, particularly farmers in the area.
Produce aggregation, especially in Northern Ghana context, focuses on post-harvest activities that enable farm produce to reach the ultimate consumers in a good state, thus improving on incomes of farmers.
The team leader explained that the ultimate beneficiaries of the programme were the poor, such as small-holder farmers. The MADE team also works through the private sector to leverage incentives and ability of businesses to deliver economic benefits to the poor. That, Mr Adongo said, was in line with an economic development approach by his outfit, known as ‘Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P).’
“With funding from and support of UKaid, MADE is expected to enable not less than 78,000 poor men and women, especially small-holder farmers and rural small-scale entrepreneurs experience increased incomes from the operations of the private sector businesses that MADE works with,” he indicated.
The participants further discussed and agreed that produce aggregation in Northern Ghana, should focus on post-harvest activities that enabled farm produce to get to eventual consumers in its wholesome state to make farmers benefit from their sweat.
They were also of the view that produce aggregation should include some key elements. They are farm produce consolidation that consists of collecting, recording and bagging of harvested produce, crop preparation and storage that involves activities such as cleaning, sorting, grading, packaging and transporting of produce to larger buyers and processors. The other element is produce marketing which involves identification of and contracting with good larger buyers and processors for the actual sale and delivery of the farm produce.
There was also consensus that considering their current operations, knowledge and experience in the field, agribusiness operators could also serve as intermediaries in the value chain between suppliers (farmers) and purchasers (larger buyers and processors).
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Excel Bit Company Limited, a private business entity, Mr Alhassan Tampuri, a participant, observed that adding value to produce was more appealing to processors up to the end-user.
The CEO of the Regional Agronomic Industry of the North Company (RAINCORP), Hajia Faiza Ibrahim Taimako, was hopeful that the expert and technical advice from the MADE team would enhance their businesses.