West Africa Regional Director, Yara International, Danquah Addo-Yobo, has stressed the need for the agricultural value chain actors to rethink and find sustainable approaches to doing business during and post COVID-19 across the value chain, so that the sector will remain resilient in the face of crisis and became a major driver of the economy as it should.
“With the disruptions brought on by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many sectors have been impacted in many ways and not least agriculture. The world has not only been in a health crisis but also food security challenges,” he said.
He noted that the small holder farmers faced increased difficulty in accessing credits, markets, agricultural machinery and inputs among others due to the restrictions and disruptions as a result of the COVID preventive measures.
The West Africa Regional Director said this at the on-going 10th annual pre-harvest conference and exhibition to promote dialogue and business partnerships among agribusinesses and contributes to Ghana’s agricultural market development and sustainability held in Tamale at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium.
The two-day event on the theme ‘COVID-19 And Beyond: Solutions for Agricultural Transformation’, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Yara Ghana, Ministry of Agricultural(MOFA), ADB among others was aimed at empowering the smallholder farmers, increase and enhance our agri-knowledge, transact agribusiness, and showcase the ingenuity in agricultural innovation and technology.
Over 600 Ghanaian agribusinesses participated in farmer virtual commodity fairs, field demonstrations, networking opportunities, deal-making opportunities, discussions, and virtual and physical exhibitions.
“It is keen to note that with all these challenges, the agricultural sector in Ghana saw a growth of 2.5 percent in the second quarter according to data released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS). Industry and Services on the other hand experienced contractions of 5.7 percent and 2.6 percent respectively,” he said.
According to him, the pandemic has brought to the fore especially at the height of the global travel and movement restrictions and therefore the need as a country to move away from overdependence on imports of basic food items and to be locally sustainable in local productions.
Indeed, the pandemic didn’t stop people from consuming agriculture products because food is essential for human survival, thus highlighting the critical nature of the agriculture value chain and its actors, he added.
For a sector that employs a lot of the population, its potential to be a key contributor and driver of the economy cannot be underestimated and the need for the country’s post COVID-19 recovery to be hinged on agriculture he explained.
Yara, he said, is well placed to contribute significantly to this with its climate and environmentally smart nutrition solutions which are already accessible to the value chain as well as its digital offerings that would be rolled out soon to support small holder farmers to be more productive, profitable and resilient.
He added that the company is committed in collaborating with the agricultural value chain actors in addressing the issues hampering crop productions and also ways of encouraging more youths to venture the sector to create more jobs.