Soya Round Table of Ghana, an advocacy group in Ghana that seeks to bring out the value and position the soya bean, now seen as a cash crop in the northern part of Ghana has in the economic growth of Ghana has described the crop as a brown gold in Ghana.
The group that advocates for the cultivation of soya bean by farmers in Ghana indicated that, the crop aside its domestic use has a lot of value in the market stating that, producers of the crop are currently not meeting the demand for soya beans in the Ghanaian market as domestic and foreign industries are all chasing for the commodity. This was revealed in their first quarterly round table meeting held in Wa, regional capital of the Upper West Region.
Chairman of the Soya Bean Round Table (SBRT), Mr. Daniel Ahenkorah who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of Vadd Agric Com Ltd in his presentation described the cash crop as a brown gold and a cash crop for Ghana stressing the need to build a solid farmer base for the production of the soya beans.
He said, the Africa continent is contributing about 5% of soya beans in the world despite the arable land the continent has been blessed with, indicating that, it does not take only the farmer, the aggregator or the prosessor of the USA to be producing millions of metric tons of soya beans in the world but everyone was hooked up, adding that for Ghana or Africa to also chalk this success, everybody must be hooked on board, noting “when it comes to Soya industry, Africa is under slavery” as most of the African countries imports soya beans from USA.
According to the Chairman, identifying the soya beans farmer is very critical, urging the industry players to treat the farmer with care and also encourage them to expand their production by way of telling them the value of the crop and the high demands it has in the market.
On his part, Mr. Yaw Afrifa, Facilitator of Soya Round Table of Ghana, says the initiative was taken in collaboration with GIZ to run a strong advocacy on the need to develop the soya industry through information sharing and the education of the industry players on the importance of the crop.
He said the cocoa farmer is recognized unlike the soya farmer despite the high price tag the crop has like of that of the cocoa, stressing the need for the soya farmer to be given same recognition. Mr. Afrifa said there is no limited institution that encourages farmers to venture into cultivation of soya beans hence the need for this advocacy group.
“The soya bean is like a brown gold like we said today, soya bean in the international market, the price is higher than most of the commodities, when you come to Ghana, soya bean might be equal on the international market like cocoa, the cocoa farmer has an identity, this is a cocoa farmer, but the soya bean farmer is not recognized. Though there is value in soya there is no institution to advocate or encourage people to go into soya production, why because no one cares”
The facilitator outlines visibility of the soya bean farmer and branding of the soya farmer as well as getting concrete information about the soya bean farmer as some of the challenges the industry faces emphasizing that, this year the group intends to build up information about the soya farmer and again encourage the farmers to be proud of being the cash crop farmers like of that of cocoa farmers.
He said the group targets 20,000 hectares cultivation through modernized agriculture in partnership with John Deere and other input dealers. Mr. Afrifa seized the opportunity and admonished farmers not to throw themselves at foreigners who come to buy soya from them with higher prices to the detriment of the local industries quizzing what the plight of farmers will be if those foreigners stop coming.
The meeting brought together farmers, aggregators, suppliers of farm inputs, processors as well as officers of credit facilities and researchers to share ideas and contribute their quota towards the growth of the soya beans industry.
By: Saeed Fatawu|myradiowaa.com|92.1fm|