IITA, Yara-Ghana launch soyabean project

Photo showing Madam Mollestad (with smock over her shoulders), and Mr Frimpong (standing wearing black and white) with other participants
Photo showing Madam Mollestad (with smock over her shoulders), and Mr Frimpong (standing wearing black and white) with other participants

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Yara–Ghana have begun a project to sustainably increase the production of soyabean to meet the rising demand in the country.

The project dubbed: “Sustainable Soyabean Production in Northern Ghana” (SSPiNG) also seeks to enable rural households to raise their incomes and improve food security on a sustainable basis.

Other partners of the SSPiNG project, which is being implemented within four years, included the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Wageningen University and Research and Felleskjøpet Rogaland Agder and it is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

An estimated 100,000 smallholder farmers in 16 districts in the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West Regions are expected to benefit from the SSPiNG project.

The beneficiary districts included Yendi, Saboba, Karaga, Savelugu, Nanton, Gushiegu, West Mamprusi and East Mamprusi, Bawku Municipal, Bawku West and Binduri.
The rest are Wa East, Sisala West, Sisala East, West Gonja and East Gonja.

Dr Richard Asare, Country Representative for IITA–Ghana, who spoke during the launch of the SSPiNG project in Tamale, said it was initiated as a direct response to a request by the Minister for Food and Agriculture to meet the country’s domestic feed requirements for Edfarmed fish and poultry industries, thus substituting for the large quantities of imported soy-based products.

According to MoFA, the country currently produces about 180,000 metric tons annually while domestic demand is more than 300,000 metric tons.

The statistics also show that the country’s annual soyabean production potential is 700,000 metric tons, covering an area of about 250,000 hectares while the area under cultivation of soyabean is about 102,000 hectares.

The country’s combined processing and export gap is 228,000 metric tons while imports (mainly processed soya meal) amount to about 200,000 metric tons.

Therefore, there is growing unmet market demand and unused processing-export capacity.

The main bottleneck is the lack of capacity for medium and smallholder farmers to increase their annual soyabean production by an additional 200,000 metric tons, hence the SSPiNG project to increase the production.

Dr Asare said, “The project aims at providing a sustainable supply of soyabean grains of sufficient quality in response to proven local demand thereby ensuring that producers and all value chain partners, including smallholder soyabean producers generate sufficient margins to continue their engagement in the soyabean value chain.”

Mr Yaw Frimpong, Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture, expressed optimism that the project would lead to commercial production of soyabean to meet the rising demand in the country.

The SSPiNG project is aligned with the government’s programme of “Investing for Food and Jobs, An Agenda for Transforming Ghana’s Agriculture (2018-2021)” and it is expected to, in the long-term, create jobs, improve food and nutrition security, contribute to balance of payments and increase incomes and profitability for farmers.
Mr Frimpong, therefore, urged all partners under the project to work assiduously to meet the project’s goals for the benefit of all.

Madam Ingrid Mollestad, Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, said the project meant a lot for food security as soyabean was important for both human and animal protein.
Madam Mollestad lauded the link among the private sector, the state and international donors under the project, saying it was important for job creation to reduce unemployment among young people.

She expressed hope that the project would spur economic growth while contributing to transforming agriculture in the country.

Professor Samuel Adjei-Nsiah, the Project Coordinator, expressed the readiness and commitment of the project implementing partners to work to attain the set goals under the project.

Mr Danquah Addo-Yobo, Managing Director of Yara–Ghana, said after the project, beneficiaries must be well empowered to continue working to sustain the gains to be made.

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