The Facilitator for Soya Beans Round Table (SBRT) Ghana, Yaw Afrifa, has called on government to pay more attention to the Soya beans production in the country just like the cocoa in order to support Ghana’s economy.
Mr Afrifa said Soya beans on the international market are more expensive than most commodities and seen as brown gold, however, less attention is given to the industry in Ghana.
He said countries like Brazil and Colombia are making strides with soya to boost their economy adding that Ghana can do same if the government pays attention to the industry.
He said despite the economic value of soya beans, there is no institutional arrangement in Ghana to support the industry.
Mr Afrifa was speaking at the First Quarter Round Table in the Upper West Regional Capital, Wa.
Soya Beans Round Table Ghana is a value chain association with a focus on advocating for the development and growth of the soya beans industry in Ghana.
The association is collaborating with GIZ to facilitate the successful implementation of the programme.
The First Quarter Round Table was to discuss technical issues affecting the soya beans industry and enhance its development.
The Soya Beans Round Table Facilitator, Yaw Afrifa identified visibility, information sharing and branding as major challenges confronting soya beans farmers in Ghana.
“When you come to Ghana, soya beans might be equal on the international market like cocoa. The cocoa farmer has an identity but the soya bean farmer is not recognised though there is economic value in soya there is no institution to advocate or encourage people to go into soya beans production,” he said.
Mr Afrifa said the association is targeting 20.000 hectares for cultivation this year and assured farmers of ready market and the prevention of post-harvest losses.
“We want to encourage the Ghanaian farmer that there are a lot of opportunities in agriculture and one of them is soyabeans.”
“When you look at the demand and supply of soya even locally we have deficit of more than 30 to 40 per cent and so gone were the days when you produce no one was there to buy it. Now that situation has changed, we have both local and international industries looking for soya and they are not available.”
Another thing we want farmers to know and understand is that when foreigners come to our local market to purchase commodities and they pegged it at a price which is not workable for the local industries, they should be careful not to follow money alone but looking at sustaining the local industries that all will continue to enjoy for a very long period of time,” he advised.
Speaking on the importance of Soya beans, Desmond Twumasi from GIZ said it is a multipurpose cash crop and its economic value cannot be over emphasized. He said Ghana produces a national average of 1.6 metric tons which is far below that of the United States’ average of 3.5 tons.
The meeting brought together stakeholders and experts including service providers, input dealers, financiers and machinery suppliers to design workable agreement to make the Soya beans industry attractive for famers.
Mr Twumasi said US is making huge gains in soya beans production and Ghana must put policies in place to catch-up with other players in the international market.
Story filed by Dennis Bebane.