WFP, MEL Consulting support Pre-Harvest Conference

Mrs Yacoub(right) exchanging the signed document with Ms Akosa

Mrs Yacoub(right) exchanging the signed document with Ms Akosa

This year’s Pre-Harvest Conference, scheduled to take place in October 5-8 in Tamale in the Northern Region,  has received more than GHȻ4 billion support from two organisations as part of  efforts to develop  agribusiness  in Ghana.

The amount made up of GHȻ367500 and GHȻ100, 000 were donated by the World Food Programme (WFP) and MEL Consulting Limited respectively.

The annual Pre-Harvest Conference is an initiative of the Agrihouse Foundation; a non-profit organisation aimed at linking smallholder farmers to markets and also improving their incomes, started in Ghana seven years ago.

Speaking at the signing of the partnership agreement with Agrihouse Foundation in Accra on Friday, the WFP Representative and Country Director, Ms Rukia Yacoub said WFP was proud to sponsor the programme.

She said WFP was sponsoring 200 smallholder farmers from the three Northern Regions, Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Region to attend the programme and showcase their products.

“Our aim in partnering with Agrihouse Foundation on the 8th Pre-harvest Agribusiness event is to help farmers and agro-processors explore business opportunities and build new partnerships to foster growth of Ghana’s agricultural sector, and generally improve food security, “she said.

She said during the programme, WFP would lead discussions on the importance and the role of supply chains in food systems and agribusiness, focusing on specialised nutritious food such as soy, millet and sweet potato, sustainable agricultural warehousing and storage, post-harvest management and food safety and quality standards.

“The Smallholder farmers will get the opportunity to learn about new innovations and technologies, participate in trainings, exhibitions, field demonstrations, and market linkages,” Ms Yacoub said.

The Director of External Relations and International Trade, MEL Consulting Limited, Ms Lucy Quainoo said her organisation decided to support the programme because it was in line with their business operation.

“Our aim of supporting agribusiness is to promote food security and improve the incomes of smallholder farmers,” she said.

The Director of External Relations and International Trade of MEL Consulting said her outfit, which deals in agro inputs through the Shinkaata Buni rice Producers Association among other things was supporting farmers in the Northern Region to produce rice.

Ms Quainoo said MEL Consulting would support smallholder farmers to attend the programme and also train them in good agronomic practices.

The Executive Director of Agrihouse Foundation, Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosa said the Pre-Harvest Conference was a market-linkage programme to link smallholder farmers to markets and also improve their income.

She said the programme, which was previously sponsored by USAID Advance, was a major intervention to help address the challenges facing smallholder farmers in the country.

Ms Akosa said the programme had made a lot of impact in linking smallholders to markets and building partnerships with players in the agricultural value chain.

“The growing attraction of the corporate bodies and international development partners to the Pre-Harvest Conference is a testament to the impact the programme has made on agribusiness in the country,” she said.

Ms Akosa said the programme would not only involve speeches, but practical sessions to expose the smallholder farmers to best agronomic practices.

She entreated more corporate organisations to sponsor the programme to ensure its sustainability.

By Kingsley Asare

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