The TFF Ambassadors John Baptist Kabo-Bah and Clement Anaba attended this year’s Annual Pre-Harvest Exhibition & Conference in Tamale, Ghana, which took place from 25th to 27th September 2019 to raise awareness around food security issues and the country’s need for innovation within the agricultural value chain.
Described as one of the leading high-impact events on the Ghanaian Agribusiness calendar, Pre-Harvest brings together over 2000+ exhibitors, farmers, traders, NGOs, commodity brokers, input companies, government agencies, practitioners, livestock companies, and more. This year’s event was themed ‘Market Accessibility: the Structured and Sustainable Pathway’.
Events like Pre-Harvest are important and serve to excite farmers, innovators, and changemakers to develop methods of improving yields and business performance. Farmers are facing wide-ranging challenges, including poor roads, climate change, and market accessibility. The Northern region of Ghana has the necessary components and potential to drive the necessary changes in Agriculture: vast arable land, water for irrigation, animal production, and people. With encouragement and technology, farmers can transform their subsistence-focused systems into a market-driven, modernised and established business. Pre-Harvest has helped to stir the nation’s hope of increasing agricultural productivity and attaining food and nutrition security.
As TFF Ambassadors, we were thrilled to see this national event as a platform to educate young people in Ghana about the future of our food systems. We were focused on bringing a next-gen perspective to the formal conversations about Ghana’s food systems. At our exhibition space, we invited visitors to think outside the box by presenting local projects that are applying technology to improve their production processes and revenue.
Marie’s Coconut Oil was one such project. The company uses a traditional method to process coconut oil: the husk is removed with a spike, cracking the shell open with a cutlass to remove the meat and using a rotary grater to turn it into a fine-textured fibre. The fibre is mixed with water, decanted into barrels and fermented for 2-3 days. Then the oil is skimmed and refined to avoid rancidity. Finally, the oil is filtered and stored in lightproof, airtight containers in a cool place. Marie’s Coconut Oil is starting to apply modern technology to reduce production costs and increase productivity to meet market demand.
We also had the opportunity to attend various assemblies including the KOSMOS Knowledge Arena and a Capacity Building Session: “Going Digital to Promote and Grow your Market”, facilitated by ECOBANK Ghana Limited. Here, participants were guided through sustainable financial management and how to embrace & utilise digital technology in everyday financial transactions.
Here are some of the agribusinesses and NGOs present at Pre Harvest that are changing Ghana’s food business:
- Iribov West Africa: offers plant tissue culture production and other laboratory services to farmers in Africa.
- Hortifresh: contributes to an inclusive, sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that boosts economic growth, food, and nutrition security.
- The Center for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD): aims to promote household food security, microfinance and rural development in northern Ghana.
- The University for Development Studies – Business Innovations and Incubation Centre: aims to cultivate entrepreneurial drive in students with potential business innovations, incubating these ideas until viable businesses are created.
Attending events is a key activity to spread Thought For Food’s mission on the ground. After three days of intense networking, discussions, and workshops, we feel empowered to continue growing our local network of passionate food futurists and innovators. Promoting food security and improved nutrition is crucial to meet the dietary needs of a growing population. Building sustainable food systems are essential to achieving the world’s social, economic and environmental goals.
Note from the Authors: We would like to express our gratitude to the AgriHouse Foundation team, especially Executive Director Alberta Nana Akyaa Akosu, for supporting our participation in the recently concluded 9th Annual Pre-Harvest Exhibition and Conference and look forward to future collaboration.