Thirteen thousands smallholder farmers in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions are to benefit from a partnership between Yara Ghana Ltd., a leading fertilizer supplier, and USAID funded Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) Project, to boost their crop productivity.
Under the partnership which took off last month, Yara is engaging smallholder farmers through ADVANCE, of which 40% are women, to learn the right protocol for fertilizer application as well as involve Ministry of Food and Agriculture extension agents to assist farmers to adhere to the protocols and get the best out of the fertilizers.
Commercial Director of Yara Ghana, Sergio Godoy said the partnership is targeted at smallholder farmers to increase yields and ensure increased production of maize and rice.
“We are very committed to smallholder farmers, who we see as central to our business as a leading fertilizer supplier. Some of these farmers have concerns that falls within the remit of what we do and as good corporate citizens, not only do we feel obliged to help their cause, but we are also hopeful that through initiatives like this we can change the fortunes of the rural farmer,” he said.
Shedding more light on Yara’s role as part of this new partnership, Mr. Godoy said, the company is supporting the establishment of 130 crop demonstrations (100 maize demos and 30 rain-fed rice demos) with premium Yara fertilizers in collaboration with the USAID/ADVANCE Project in the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions during the 2015 production season.
The purpose of the demonstrations, he said, is to train farmers on agronomic techniques, good agricultural practices, harvest and post-harvest handling.
Mr. Godoy was appreciative of the support rendered by USAID/ADVANCE adding that being in the business of giving technical assistance to smallholder farmers for some years, the partnership is not only welcome news to Yara but to the farmers as well.
He concluded that: “Our commitment to the farmers is a priority for everyone at Yara, and we intend to partner more institutions so long as it helps our overall goal of seeing the farmer gain access to quality fertilizers and knowledge about right time, right product and right place to apply the correct nutrients on every crop.”
According to Adwoa Mensima Sey, PR & Communications Specialist of USAID/ADVANCE, the partnership is part of the project’s strategy to scale up private sector investment to increase agricultural productivity, increase market access and trade, and strengthen local capacity with a focus on the rice, maize, and soy value chains.