Speaking at a session on Custom and Contract Farming during the Eight Pre-Harvest Agribusiness Exhibition and Conference held in Tamale recently, Mr Nanga Kaye, the Sustainable Food Coordinator of the World Food Programme, said it was necessary for smallholder farmers to come together to get stronger.
He said this would enable them to create more job opportunities for themselves as customs and contract farmers as well as offer various farming related services to other farmers and marketers at a fee.
This, Mr Kaye said, would be with little start-up capital to a point where major technologies could be adopted.
Services that Customs and Contract farmers can offer include weeding, harvesting, transportation of produce to the market and sales.
Mr Kaye said the services of custom farmers were critical in reducing post-harvest losses when they were delivered timely and effectively.
Two other important sessions were led by the WFP-Sustainable Food System, which focused on food safety, proper warehousing and food storage methods and the commodity session with focus on soybean, rice and maize.
For the Sustainable Food System session, farmers were advised on the need to come together as players in agribusiness to be in a good position to meet the huge logistical demands of the industry.
Mr Kaye said this was necessary because little would be achieved in the industry if the appropriate logistical and supply chain systems were not in place.
Mrs Rukia Yacoub, the Country Director of the WFP, expressed delight that the exhibition would support smallholder farmers who produce the majority of the food consumed yet remain among the most food-insecure livelihood groups in Ghana.
She said the Programme planned to help agro-processors in Ghana to produce for markets in the West Africa Sub-region, providing opportunity for smallholder farmers to derive more income and ensure food security.
The World Food Programme is a United Nations agency presently focusing its support to national governments on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2), which is to achieve Zero Hunger and SDG 17 – Partnerships globally.
As part of efforts to achieve its goals, the WFP partnered Agrihouse Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, to organise the Pre-harvest Agribusiness Exhibition and Conference, which aimed at linking smallholder farmers to markets.
It was also to assist farmers and agri-businesses to expand, help farmers adopt best practices and create an avenue to enable businesses to share innovative ideas and partner for progress.
This year’s event brought together more than 3,100 participants, 144 exhibitors and value chain actors in the agriculture sector including farmers, buyers, processors, transporters, input dealers, equipment dealers, financial institutions, research institutions, development partners, policy makers and government officials.
It was to create a forum to discuss and come up with practical ways to make the sector more attractive and profitable through best practices and networking.
Partners for the event included the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Northern Development Authority, USAID ADVANCE, Yara Ghana, Ecobank, Mel Consulting, Kosmos Energy, Interplast, Dizengoff, RMG, Hatuom Trading and LK International.