Demeter Ghana Limited has firmly reiterated its commitment to sustain practical field demonstrations that provide farmers across the country with the right knowledge on how to use crop fertiliser and other inputs produced and supplied by the company.
In an interview at this year 12th Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference and Exhibitions, annually organised by Agrihouse Foundation in the Northern Region, the company’s agronomist and Sales person, Mr. Frank Thomas Osei-Tutu, said Demeter Ghana has introduced an innovative line of products from RIZOBACTER ARGENTINA S. A®
“They include Rizoliq Soy, Rizoliq Top Groundnut & Cowpea which are all inoculants for legumes production; and RIZOSPRAY Extremo, an emulsifiable concentrate adjuvant for performance enhancement of agricultural chemicals (pesticides and foliar fertilisers),” he revealed. Products like Eco 77, Eco BB, Eco T, and Eco Ezi Flow are all organic pesticides which have been designed for organic farmers from Andermatt®, he added: “Moreover, with our state-of-the-art soil-testing kit, we have also introduced our mobile soil laboratory from PALINTEST®.”
He said all these initiatives are geared toward supporting the efforts of Ghanaian commercial farmers and small-scale farmers, especially in these times of economic hardship. According to him, the practical demonstration exercises make room for the farmers to learn more about the products they are purchasing; how to use them rightly to prevent wastage and ensure that they are making maximum use of each.
He said the Farmer to Farmer Apprenticeship Programme, which forms part of the main activities implemented at Pre-Harvest, makes it easy for Demeter Ghana Limited to facilitate and undertake practical field demonstration exercises. “The pre-Harvest event makes it easy for us to access information. The event helps us to generate farmer traffic to our outfits for our products. Last year was our maiden participation, and the platform was able to connect us to lots of farmers involved in several crop cultivations. We were able to be in contact with both small-scale and commercial farmers who for a long time had an interest in testing and analysing their soils but could not get access to such companies involved.” Mr. Osei-Tutu said in the interview.
He added: “We are able to speak to all stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain in Ghana; to understand the situation on the ground and work with them to find solutions. Through the Farmer to Farmer Apprenticeship/Demonstration Sessions, we are able to enlighten our farmers on the importance of testing their soils prior to production. “Last year and this year, we introduced a simple and easy demonstration exercise to farmers on how to analyse soil pH and EC by themselves,” he said.
“These are the most important parameters for successful cultivation and appreciable yield,” he noted, adding that the mission of Demeter is consequently to attain an all-year-round sustainable production through enhancing small-scale farmers – while providing consumers and farmers with a reliable market for high-quality farming products. “In line with this, as part of our operations we continuously create awareness on the importance of neutralising soil acidity to increase yields in cocoa-growing areas with Cocobod. Again, we enlighten farmers on the relevance of legumes to increase yields while improving the soil structure and organic matter content,” he revealed.
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.
Impacts 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 operation – 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.
Fertiliser and Specialist Products
DGL imports fertiliser and specialist agricultural inputs to help farmers improve crop yields, mitigate crop failure risk and increase profitability. The product range includes conventional fertilisers such as Sulphate of Ammonia and NPK, special fertilisers tailor-blended to suit any soil type, as well as the latest specialised soil treatment inputs such as micronised and granulated calcium carbonate.
Enhanced Seeds: DGL offers a variety of enhanced seeds, ranging from vegetables to rice and maize. Their hybrid and OPV varieties generate superior yield and better, more tolerant performance.
Farming services: DGL offers expert advice on how best to use their products to maximise benefits, giving farmers access to years of local and international experience in the farming industry.
Fruit and vegetables: An extensive logistics network has enabled DGL to bridge the gap between Ghanaian farmers and European consumers, with tonnes of high quality fruit and vegetables imported to the UK and Europe each week.
Key sessions at 12th Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Conference
Exhibitions: This year’s exhibitions hosted 154 agribusinesses including Farmer groups, Input and Seed Dealers, Agric Marketing Experts, Financial Institutions, Brand Specialists, Policymakers and Influencers, Transporters, Equipment and Machinery Companies, Marketers, Processing and Packaging Companies, Development Partners, Donor Agencies, Corporate Institutions, Aggregators, Buyers, Civil Society, key government ministries and agencies, Industry and Business Leaders.
Farmer to Buyer Matchmaking: The session was a big highlight of the event, as it has been over the years. Farmer groups promoted and negotiated for pricing with buyers and signed contracts for produce supply. Last year, 53 contracts valued at US$189,000 were signed. Some of the farmer groups which participated in the session this year included: Gushegu OB Network, Tamale OB Network, Beinmoni Outgrower Business (OB) Network, Jirapa OB Network, Sissala Area OB Network, Nawuni OB Network, etc. The session connected buyers and aggregators to farmers who produce rice, maize, millet, sorghum, soya-beans, groundnut, yam and other tubers, among others.
Training & Capacity Building Sessions: In sizable groups that enabled easy interaction and flow of information, the farmers were taken through topics which increased their knowledge and skills as farmers. Organisations that led this year’s sessions included ADB, YARA, GIZ and Ecobank, with topics such as preparing for expected demands, expected production and price expectations. The session educated participants on market demands for commodities, the need to farm with a market or financial consumer in mind, and identifying markets before production. Facilitators walked participants through the entire agric value chain and how they can essentially improve each point along the chain. The purpose of these topics was to empower them to influence production and positively influence their price expectations in the market.
Farmer-to-Farmer Apprenticeship Programme: The 10-acre agri-village played host to the series of Technical training and demonstration sessions held for the FBO leaders, Farm Associations, and out-growers of rice, soybean, sorghum, maize and vegetables. Yara Ghana, CWoerman Ghana Limited, Agripower, Demeter, Lamb Father Engineering and SAYeTECH were companies that participated in the sessions this year. The apprenticeship training module provided experienced field representatives an opportunity to run practical and demonstrative training sessions. Through this module, the capacities and knowledge of both local and commercial farmers were strengthened and developed, practically enabling them to embrace and manage machines, equipment and agri farm inputs and produce.