An agribusiness forum to discuss opportunities for actors in the agriculture value chain, to network and create linkages for improved competiveness and efficiency in the provision of services has been held in Bolgatanga, Upper East Region.

The forum was organised on the theme, “Establish 2020, a Business to Business meeting for Agribusiness champions and value chain service providers”, by the ‘Towards Sustainable Clusters in Agri-Business through Learning in Entrepreneurship’ (2SCALE), a programme being funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the period 2019-2023.

The 2SCALE is aimed at incubating and accelerating a portfolio of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) for inclusive businesses in agriculture food sectors and industries including; protein and animal products, staple crops, fresh produce and oil seeds.

It is being implemented by the Bottom of the Pyramid Innovation Center (BoPinc), International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) and SNV-Netherland Development Organization in eight African countries, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Cote D’Ivoire.

It is to contribute to food and nutrition security, sustainable and inclusive economic growth and stability in Africa through Public Private Partnerships, incubating and accelerating inclusive business models in the agricultural sector.

Speaking at the forum, Mr Jalil Zakaria, the Country Team Leader of 2SCALE, explained that many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) or producer organizations in the agriculture value chain lacked the capacity to be innovative, while others did not have the needed funds to actualize their innovations.

“Over the implementation period, key interventions will be in Agri-business Cluster formation, BoP Marketing, Financial Inclusion, Youth Inclusion, Women Economic Empowerment, Loyalty and Supply Chain Coordination, Private Sector Development and Entrepreneurship and Inclusive Green Innovation,” he said.

He said 2SCALE in partnership with three business champions such as Faranaya Agribusiness Centre, KEDAN Limited and Tamanaa Company Limited was to increase linkages among other value chain actors in Maize, Sorghum and Rice, to ultimately lower supply chain risks, reduce costs, and increase access to finance, inputs and improved technologies and develop and integrate agribusinesses in competitive and inclusive value chains that target African food markets.

The project would bring together key participants in the provision of services in the value chain of agriculture, to deliberate on the value each service provider brings towards value chain competiveness.

Mr Zakaria noted that the five-year project which is the second phase of the 2SCALE programme would ensure that five Public Private Partnerships would be implemented while about 50,000 BoP consumers would be reached.

“The project is further targeted at increasing yields of 50,000 smallholder farmers of which 50 per cent are covering 30,000 hectares of land while creating 1,500 non farming jobs for 800 women and 600 youth.

“Furthermore, it is an opportunity for SMEs in the value chain to gain access to new markets, financing, and technology to transform their businesses,” he added.

The Country Team Leader explained that the resultant effect would be that smallholder farmers would be able to produce quality raw materials to meet the new market demand to increase their livelihoods and income levels.

Mr Alidu Tia, the Business Development Officer of Tamanaa Company Limited, producers of NASIA STAR brands of rice and rice blend, said through the partnership with 2SCALE, it recorded 90,000 metric tonnes per annum in five years through the sustainable out grower scheme.

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