Affordable and consistent supply of agricultural inputs, especially fertiliser, is among the major challenges most farmers in rural parts of Ghana grapple with.
Through a number of ongoing fertiliser subsidy interventions, government continues to tackle this headache as much as it is able to – while calling on private sector organisations within the agricultural value chain to build collaborative efforts and partnerships which help address the challenge.
Demeter Ghana Limited is one such leading private agricultural inputs specialists in Ghana, providing excellent fertilisers that are helping farmers across the country maximise their yields – and integrally living up to the company’s vision of connecting small farmers in the industry to knowledge, resources and collective growth.
This year, as part of efforts toward further driving their vision, Demeter Ghana Limited participated in this year’s 11th Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions event organised by Agrihouse Foundation in Tamale – as both Corporate Sponsor and Exhibitor. Annually, the market linkage event brings together companies that are into fertiliser, seeds, irrigation, machinery and equipment, Finance, Transportation, ICT, Processors, Packagers, Marketers, Government Institutions and Development Partners, among others.
The platform serves as a highly engaging training, capacity-building and exhibition time for all actors within the agric value chain, helping them add to their knowledge and skills through practical sessions including field demonstrations, commodity breakout sessions, farmer-buyer matchmaking dialogues, gender workshops, corporate development conversations and showcasing successful agribusiness modules and exhibitions.
Stakeholders and participants are able to network with companies and among themselves within this period, serving as an opportunity for them to strike new deals, build their customer and clients’ database and, importantly, negotiate new contracts toward the harvest season.
“The Pre-Harvest event annually brings the needs of farmers to our doorsteps, which makes it easy for us to access of information,” the company’s agronomist and Sales person, Mr. Frank Thomas Osei-Tutu, said in an interview about the event. “Our mission is to continuously attain an all year-round sustainable production through enhancing small-scale farmers toward the best use of land; while providing consumers and small-scale farmers a reliable market of high-quality farming products,” he noted.
According to him, the Pre-Harvest platform affords Demeter Ghana Limited an engaging environment and extensive opportunities to accomplish the above missions: “We are able to speak with all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain in Ghana; to understand the situation on the ground and work with stakeholders to find solutions,” he said.
Founded in 2014 as a two-man project, DGL has grown to be one of the primary agricultural services and products providers in West Africa. With an initial remit to combat inefficiencies in the Ghanaian agricultural sector arising from poor soil fertility, erosion and acidity, DGL began by distributing a small variety of fertiliser and soil-acidity stabilisers.
Impact of DGL over the years
Since 2014, DGL’s product list has expanded to include a broad range of mainstream and specialist agricultural inputs designed to make farming in West Africa more diverse and efficient. DGL’s major customers include the Ghanaian government and COCOBOD – the largest global Cocoa producer, as well as commercial farms across West Africa. Through supplying Ghana’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme, DLG’s products and services directly impact the lives of over 100,000 farmers in Ghana alone each year.
In 2019, a new division of the organisation commenced, Demeter Fruit and Vegetables, born out of 10 years’ experience operating in West Africa. Working with hundreds of thousands of farmers across Ghana, Kenya and Sierra Leone over the last decade to increase crop quality and yield has led naturally to another service – bringing high quality West African produce to the UK and European markets. Beginning as an experiment and a test of DGL’s international logistics capabilities, Demeter Fruit and Vegetables supplies quality produce to wholesalers across the UK and parts of Europe.
Through various training and capacity events, Demeter Ghana Limited has also trained cocoa farmers on the importance of soil pH and its impact on cocoa production. The company has introduced Calciprill, a calcium product with proven effects in neutralising soil and therefore increasing yield. Also, biological inputs such as Eco T (Trichoderma) and Rizoliq soy inoculants, as well as state of the art soil-testing equipment that provides detailed soil analysis and fertiliser recommendations
DGL at 11th Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference
In line with the above impacts and a fervent zeal to do more, the company at the recent Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions in Tamale appointed Mr. Frank Thomas Osei-Tutu, the organisation’s Agronomist, to lead business-to-business and field demonstration sessions consisting of farmers looking to attract new business leads and improved best farming practices.
Mr. Osei-Tutu therefore used the opportunity to reiterate impacts of DGL over the years and introduce the company’s list of agric products and services to the farmers. The session was also used to gather feedback from participants, focusing on their business needs and how DGL can better respond to them. Demeter Ghana Limited offers products and services including fertiliser, improved seeds, fruit and vegetables, and diverse farm services.
Fertiliser: Demeter distribute a wide array of fertiliser from warehouses in Accra and Tamale. They include Conventional Fertiliser such as NPK 15-15-15 / 25-10-10 / 23-10-5 / 20-10-10, Urea, Rock Phosphate, Triple Super Phosphate (TSP), Muriate of Potash (MoP), Sulphate of Potash (SoP), Potassium Nitrate and Calcium Nitrate.
Specialised Products: The company also deals in specialised products which have been selected to help farmers deal with specific challenges of agriculture in West Africa. Products like Micronised and Granulated Calcium Carbonate is a high-quality agricultural lime, specially formulated to be highly reactive. Also, there’s ICL-Polysulphate – a new product from the UK containing potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulphur and some other trace elements. Andermatt Eco-T is a Trichoderma-based seed treatment that protects against root pathogens and assists root development. It is effective on most crops, including rice, maize and soybean.
Enhanced Seeds: DGL has successfully supplied hundreds of tonnes of vegetable, maize and rice seeds under the government of Ghana’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme from 2017 to 2019. Their variety of vegetable seeds are Tomato seeds (Petomech), Cucumber seeds (Pointsett), Cabbage (Karibo), Lettuce (Great lakes), Onion (Red creole), Pepper (Cayenne) and Carrot (Nantes). Their Maize and Rice Seeds include Hybrid maize, OPV maize and Jasmine rice.
Fruit and Vegetables: DGL further delivers high quality, fresh and exotic West African fruit and vegetables to the UK and European markets. These include Okra, Chilli Peppers: Green Bird Eye / Habanero, Turia, Maize, Cassava, Yams, Pumpkin, Shallot, Chayote, Aubergine and Mangos.
Farming Services: DGL leverages its extensive farming networks and expertise to provide consultancy and training services to Ghanaian farmers. DGL understands that introducing new crops or fertiliser onto your farm can seem challenging. Thus, the company offers specialist advice and training; ensuring farmers have the requisite skills and knowledge to reap the full benefits of our products.
11th Pre-Harvest Exhibitions and Conference Activities
The 3-day leading market linkage event opened on Tuesday, October 19th and ran until Thursday, October 21. This edition, which was on theme ‘Working Together to Improve Market Channels for Agri-foods Beyond the Pandemic’, took place at the Aliu Mahama Sports Stadium at Tamale in the Northern Region.
The leading agribusiness market linkage conference and exhibitions event featured major training and capacity sessions: such as commodity breakout sessions, farmer-buyer matchmaking dialogues, showcasing successful agribusiness modules; exhibitions, an agri-youth forum, gender workshop, development partner panel conversation, and practical field-demonstration exercises.
The event further highlighted and addressed challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified within the sector and the effects it has posed on marketing Agri-foods, while exploring existing market channels to address these challenges.
A key highlight of the 3-day event was the Field demonstrations, whereby farmers and actors got to practically learn, appreciate and adopt best practices in Farm Management. These took place at the Agrihouse Foundation Agri-Village, a ten (10) acre land donated by the Bamvim Lana (Chief of Bamvim).
In the short- to long-term, the Agrihouse Foundation Agri-Village is expected to house different type of farms (including Seeds and Livestock Farms), Demonstration Centres, Conference / Workshop halls, Restrooms, Exhibition stores for Agric Companies, Training and Recreational Centres, Storage space, Processing Centres, Production room, Laboratories and Research Centres.
Impacts of Pre-Harvest over the years
Pre-Harvest has created and continues to connect – through exhibitions and training sessions, companies that are into fertiliser, seeds, Irrigation, machinery and equipment, Finance, Transportation, ICT, Processors, Packagers, Marketers, Government Institutions, Development Partners, among others. Over 90% of companies and participants have been linked to markets through the exhibitions.
Pre-Harvest has become a leading event on the Ghanaian agricultural calendar and has served as a stimulating platform for training – and for creating increased stakeholder linkages, exhibitions and expanded opportunities. It operates from a facilitative dimension by presenting a highly engaging and coordinated platform that ensures smallholder farmers are connected to markets, finance, inputs, equipment and information.
These activities are geared toward capturing marketing challenges faced by the actors, especially in the pandemic, and how other modernised marketing platforms can serve as a solution to maximise the output of actors along the value chain. Farmers, actors along the value chain and participants will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to observe Good Agricultural Practices.
This year’s 3-day event (2021, 11th edition) recorded 118 Exhibitors including farmers, traders, commodity brokers, input companies, machinery and equipment providers, transporters, financial institutions, ICT, Innovations, Poultry and Livestock companies, packaging and processing companies, development practitioners and government agencies, among others. It made room for 3,200 Participants; 32 FBOs from different regions and districts which represented over 300,000 farmers of rice, maize, soya beans, sorghum, millet, groundnut, vegetables, yam and other tubers, etc. A total of 46 buyers negotiated and signed deals with farmers.
In 2020 (10th edition), the event recorded a total of 3,122 participants and 122 exhibitors including farmers, traders, commodity brokers, input companies, machinery and equipment providers, transporters, financial institutions, ICT, Innovations, Poultry and Livestock companies, packaging and processing companies, development practitioners and government agencies, among others.
Reports on the 2019 event showed that about 70 business deals were made during the Exhibition. More than GH¢232,420,745 of agri-products and equipment were sold and bought. The event has improved the livelihoods of players along the value chain by boosting their confidence – i.e. created a stimulus platform for collaborating with other actors for business deals/increased stakeholder linkages.
It has given agro-processors a strong drive to access their raw materials locally, helped agribusiness development, grown the local economy through the expansion of agribusiness opportunities; and has become a platform of growth for agribusiness entrepreneurs. The event will remain one of the leading events in the country, where farmers, businesses, government and ideas meet to network, build capacity, learn and explore business opportunities, sign deals and close contracts.
In 2018, the event won the Agribusiness Event of the Year award for helping to promote business partnerships among value chain actors: especially farmers, buyers, processors, transporters, input dealers, equipment dealers, financial institutions, telecom companies and policymakers. Over the years, through continuous improvement, it has accelerated the transformation of agribusiness in Northern Ghana, alongside government’s initiatives.