Agrishow 2020:  Brazil Embassy, Agrihouse, GIPC take Ghana to Brazil

The annual global agricultural showpiece, Agrishow Brazil, is set to be held from April 27-May 1, 2020; with Ghana set to make another showing, having graced the 2019 edition.

Agrishow is the biggest and most important agricultural technology trade show in Brazil, and one of the largest in the world.

It is the only trade show that brings together agricultural solutions for all types of crops and property sizes, and it is recognised as the leading showcase for the main technological trends and innovations in agribusiness.

Last year, the event received more than 180,000 professionals from all regions of Brazil and abroad who visited the exhibition to see up-close 800 brands on display in an area of 520,000sqm. In addition to presenting innovation, new technologies and best practices in field-handling techniques, Agrishow also plays an important role in developing the agricultural industry by providing a prosperous environment for doing business, making connections and driving the evolution of agribusiness in Brazil.

Brazil’s important contribution to global agribusiness is unquestionable. It is the world’s largest producer and exporter of coffee, sugar and orange juice, and is highly ranked in the production and export of soybean, corn, ethanol, pork, beef, and poultry chicken. The results harvested today have their roots in colonial times. Today, agribusiness represents 22% of Brazil’s GDP, 1/3 of all employment and almost 44% of exports. However, agriculture and livestock have always made up an important share of the country’s wealth.

Brazil’s geographic dimensions are continental; it ranks as the 5th-largest country in population and total area, with 200 million people and 851 million hectares respectively. The country enjoys a number of climatic conditions in favour of livestock and agricultural production. Brazil has the opportunity to be the largest agribusiness superpower supplying a hungrier, wealthier, and more ecologically and health-conscious world market while also providing affordable food for its own population.

Among social and technological factors are the availability of human labour, the technical knowledge accumulated over many years of agricultural and livestock production, and the ongoing quest for innovation.
On the economic front, Brazil is currently the ninth-largest economy in the world based on GDP. The country experiences the benefits of income growth and better income distribution among its population; also, the middle-class is growing – along with the demand for more industrialised products and quality services.

The event provides participants a liberal pool from which to source industry-essentials, like Agricultural machinery and equipment, tractors, seeds, soil improvers, fertilisers, plant protection products, silos and storage facilities, irrigation equipment, utility vehicles, software and hardware, spare-parts and tyres for machinery and vehicles, tools, pumps and engines, drilling equipment for artesian wells, agricultural sacking and packaging materials and equipment, rural communications equipment, security equipment, fencing materials and equipment, prefabricated buildings, information systems, research centres and universities, parabolic antennas, magazines and technical publications.

Last year, the Brazil Embassy, Agrihouse Foundation, Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Ghana Investment Promotions Council led a strong Ghanaian contingent to participate in the 26th edition of Agrishow.

A 19-member delegation, led by the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, Hon. Sagre Bambangi, and Alberta Akyaa Akosa, Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, represented Ghana at the event.

Representatives from The Ghana Investment Promotion Council, Ghana Commodity Exchange, Jospong Group, Accra Company and Recycling, Ghana Commercial Agric Project and Foundaries were part of the annual agric showpiece.

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This year’s event will highlight all the latest products, services and technology that is available to stakeholders in the world of agriculture.
Participants from Ghana this year will be drawn from Government Agencies, Organisations, Investors, Poultry and Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Producers, Packaging and Processing, Producers, Inputs Dealers, ICT, Finance and individuals with interest in the agric industry.

According to Agrihouse Foundation, one of the facilitating agencies for the Ghanaian delegation to the event, the platform will help actualise the dream of indigenous firms which are looking to enhance their businesses through strategic partnerships, networking and exchange of ideas.

It also affords Ghana a fantastic platform to direct the rest of the world’s attention to investment opportunities in the country’s agribusiness industry.

The delegation will during the course of the four-day event participate in: Exhibitions, Field Trips and Demonstrations, Business Presentations and Investments Business-to-Business Meetings, Formal Technical and Practical Training workshops and conferences.

Ghana will have the opportunity to make an investment presentation to the world’s topmost investors in agribusiness, while the private companies participating will also get to meet peers from other parts of the world looking for global collaborations and partnerships orld.

The Ghana/Brazil story

Brazil is a key development partner responsible for ploughing huge resources into the local agricultural sector.

Through a partnership that spans several decades, Brazil today ranks high on the list of countries that have contributed significantly to the development of Ghana’s promising agricultural sector.

At the onset of its current administration, the Brazilian government committed to partnering the Ministry of Food and Agriculture on its ‘One Village, One Dam’ project, which is geared toward providing/improving year-round crop farming by providing easily accessible sources of water for irrigation in regions with sparse rainfall.

In recent years, grants and equipment worth millions of dollars have also been invested in a myriad of projects ranging from poultry to rice-farming.

Nearly two decades ago, Brazil decided to prioritise its agricultural sector through strengthening fundamental structures like agri-technology, finance and legislative policies.

Today, Brazil is major producer of a myriad of agricultural commodities like soya beans, maize, cotton, oranges and poultry meat – a feat achieved through exceptional national commitment to innovation and hard work.

While a national approach to agricultural excellence was key to getting the country this far, its success is mostly attributable to the significant improvement in productivity made possible through the development of farming inputs relevant to the country’s unique ecosystem.

Though the country’s arable landmass has remained unchanged since the mid-1970’s, production has soared by as much as 300% – a rate believed to be higher than that recorded by other agriculturally successful nations like the United States and China.

Some forty-five (45) years ago, Brazils ruling generals established the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, which would later become the world’s leading tropical research institution.

The creation of this institution proved pivotal to the growth of agriculture in the South- American nation, as it led the way in developing new varieties of soya beans which experts later rated as being better and more suitable to the country’s climate.

This soybean variety introduced by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation proved to have shorter growing periods, and consequently presented farmers the opportunity of growing two crops each year.

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From what was very little beginnings of experimenting with new soya bean varieties which were genetically modified to improve harvests, Brazil today holds the enviable record of being the world’s largest exporter of soya beans.

Apart from its hugely successful experiment with improved soya bean varieties, Brazil also has a very conducive financial service delivery on which the country’s agricultural sector thrives. Recently, the international Food Policy Research Institute lauded the country for its remarkably strong agricultural sector financial management systems.

Brazil has a banking system that perhaps has more interest in providing tailor-made services for agricultural supply chain actors than it does other sectors of the country’s vast economy. Brazilian banks are known to give long-term investment finance as well as specialised financial advisory services to farmers at reasonably fair rates.

Interestingly, Brazil is one of very few countries on the planet where legislation permits agri-preneurs to trade ‘farm product bonds on yet to be harvested farm crops. This brilliant innovation by the Brazilians has created a perfect agricultural sector atmosphere for value chain actors to thrive.

Lessons for Ghana

As Ghana looks to propel its agriculture sector to greater heights, the example of how Brazil transitioned from an unknown quantity to a world power-house is both inspiring and full of lessons that must be quickly soaked-in. From a Ghanaian perspective, what makes the Brazilian story interesting is that only a few decades ago the South American country had an agriculture sector that was literally on life-support.

Necessity is the mother of invention – and invention the precursor to great things. It is therefore unsurprising that the efforts of Brazil yielded fruits which have today placed the country’s burgeoning agricultural sector in the global limelight of excellence.

Like the initial stages of the Brazilian agriculture sector, Ghana has an agricultural sector that is not reflective of the country’s vast potential. Indeed, Ghana still has a lot of work to do to guarantee a full take-off of its agricultural sector.

The commitment of the Brazilian financial sector to helping small-, medium-scale farmers grow their enterprises coupled with the legislative backing provided for value chain actors willing to invest their farm produce in financial bonds is a model that Ghana should be seriously considering. The farmer is central to the success of agriculture, and so every effort aimed at making work and life worthwhile for the farmer is too critical to be handled with levity.

Additionally, Ghana can ill-afford to sidestep the lessons deducible from the start-point of the brilliant success story of Brazil’s agriculture. This is the moment the country decided to create the now hugely successful Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, which led the way in creating and implementing an ambitious national agricultural development blueprint responsible for the accelerated growth of one of the world’s biggest agricultural nations.

If the story of Brazil’s breakthrough proves a catalyst for Ghana’s agricultural sector transformation efforts, a combination of the much-heralded ‘One Village, One Dam’ and ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ policies of government could easily be the launch-pad that propels our agriculture to the lofty heights it deserves.

To turn potential into reality, however, we must make a concerted effort that is sustainable enough to set our agricultural sector on a path to accelerated growth and eventual development.

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