Soybean is one of the under developed crop in Ghana despite its’ high economic gain, both market and non-market benefits. Although the government of Ghana and non-governmental agencies are still putting in effort through projects and education to make the crop gain wider popularity, the cultivation of soybean is relatively low.
Soybean with its high potential of becoming a cash crop will contribute to poverty eradication and food security in the country.
About 90% of soybean produced in Ghana are cultivated in the Northern part of the country by smallholder farmers who cultivate maximum of 2 hectares and very minute fraction of the production by commercial farmers.
Despite the increasing demand of soybean by industries and poultry sector, soybean farmers are unable to meet this demand due to low yield of 1MT per hectare which is below achievable 3MT per hectare under optimized production conditions.
Low yield is as a result of low-quality inputs such as certified seeds, fertilizer, crop protection products.
Witama Agribusiness Company Limited located in Walewale, in the West Mamprusi Municipality, North East Region, an agribusiness owned by young agripreneurs who are committed to impactful agribusiness earlier this season supported 420 farmers in 8 communities within the municipality through its out-grower scheme programme by providing these farmers with mechanization service, certified seeds, foliar fertilizer and crop protection products for the cultivation of 360 hectares of soya beans.
In a two-day monitoring and assessment, 7th and 8th October, the company, together with the North East Regional Agriculture Director, Mr. Abednego Abosore, some officials from the Municipal Agriculture department and partners of the company visited some fields in its operational communities to assess the progress of the fields as the usage of fertilizer on soybean is new to these farmers. Partners present include representatives of Newage Agric Solutions Limited and Yara Ghana.
Mr. Abosore, addressing farmers in the communities commended Witama Agribusiness for supporting these farmers with quality and timely mechanization service and inputs which from the current stage of the crops on the field are very promising of higher yield this season.
“I am assuring the company that my office and that of the municipal office will continue to provide support to the training of the farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), make available any needed information related to your business and also carry out demonstration fields in all the communities to help farmers adopt to better practices for the success of the programme”; Mr. Abosore said.
He also highlighted the economic importance of cultivating soybeans and admonished the farmers to be diligent to the program and carry out their farming activities as a profitable business to reap benefits from the program as they turn to make more profit from their harvest than the program owners.
He added that, their commitment is a major determining factor of the expansion of the project, as such they should cooperate and not otherwise which will deprive other farmers from benefiting from the program in future.
Alberta Afriyie-Mensah, CEO of Witama Agribusiness, emphasised on farmers commitment to the program during her address, as the company is willing to expand the program in the seasons ahead and their commitment or non-commitment will determine their future businesses with the farmers.
She added that, “the Northern part of the country has only one cropping season in a year to carry out their major economic activity, farming, as such farmers need to make the best of the season and leave nothing to chance to obtain optimum yields which can generate substantial income to sustain them till the next season.”
Concluding, she reassured the farmers of the company providing ready market for all their soybeans at prevailing market prices