The 2018 Upper West Regional Best Farmer, Abdul Rahaman Tawfic has appealed to the government of Ghana to support the seed and grain sector with reliable cold storage machines.
Mr. Tawfic who is also the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Big Ajar Farms observed that the support will not only help to reduce post-harvest loses but greatly improve agri-businesses in general. He made the appeal at a media briefing in Wa.
Media practitioners at the event used the opportunity to tour the Ghana Grains Council (GGC) certified warehouse being operated by Big Ajar Farms.
Mr. Tawfic pointed out that the provision of reliable cold storage machines by government will significantly enhance productivity within the Northern Development Authority zones which comprises Northern belt, Southern belt, and the Middle belt.
The CEO of Big Ajar Farms indicated that President Akufo-Addo’s agenda to promote Ghana beyond aid is laudable and stressed the importance for it to be supported by all “in good faith without political bias”.
Mr. Tawfic said: “Without food, [there is] no life hence all major stakeholders on the value chain must come on board.” We also trust that governments pledge to support the growth of agriculture will be fulfilled to improve the lives of the people, he emphasized.
Mr. Tawfic was not happy about the absence of harvesting equipment, [reapers] saying: The whole of Upper West, we dont have a single combine harvester for the rice industry. As the Regional Best farmer, it is disheartening that colleagues in the Northern Region and other parts of the country own combine harvesters but we dont have a single combine harvester”. “How do we make sure that this gap is closed, Mr. Tawfic asked.
The CEO of Big Ajar Farms was of the view that farmers in Upper West go through a lot of drudgery in using sickle to harvest their rice, noting that the manual system is not supportive of commercial farming.
He continued that it was imperative for the government to come on board and help with the harvesting equipment, especially, in respect of rice and soya. Commenting on the linkages he has created in agri-business, Mr. Tawfic stated: I am holding about 2000 smallholder farmers, and each farmer is doing four or five different crops: soya, maize, rice, groundnut and cowpea.
Based on the request of the farmers, we are projecting that each will do 10 acres, if you multiply ten acres by 2000, it is a huge number we are going to get in their output. Big Ajar Farms is a certificated producer of foundation and certified seeds, mechanized services provider, input dealer, aggregator and Ghana Grains Council (GGC) certified warehouse operator. As an entity, it also manages out-grower contract scheme with over 2000 smallholder farmers.
The company is dedicated to maintaining food security, creating jobs and supplying farmers with scarce agro inputs. It is equally committed to creating access to market within and outside Ghana for a competitive agri-business.
Some of the institutions and organizations Big Ajar Farms has partnership with of are, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG), National Seed Traders Association of Ghana (NASTAG), Ghana Grains Council (GGC), Ghana Commodity Exchange Limited (GCX), AGRA, AND Northern Development Authority (NDA) and African Development Bank (ADB) and the Market Oriented Agriculture Program (MOAP).
Report and pictures by Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo