A Project dubbed; ‘Sustainable Soya bean Production in Northern Ghana’ (SSPiNG) has been launched. The project is to increase the production of soyabean to meet the rising demand in the country.
The project will provide a sustainable supply of soya bean grains of sufficient quality and quantity in response to proven local demand of 200k ton by four years. It is also to enable rural households to raise their incomes and improve their food security on sustainable basis.
The project which is aligned with Government’s program ‘’Investing for Food and jobs; An Agenda for Transforming Ghana’s Agriculture (2018-2021) in the long term is expected to create jobs, increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security and contribute to balance of payment.
SSPiNG is a four year project which has Yara Ghana Limited, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MoFA), Wageningen University and Research and Felleskjøpet Rogaland Agder as main implementing partners, and it is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
The project is expected to reach at least 100, 000 small holder farmers, 500 farmer associations, 50 private extension officers, 150 MoFA Extension officers and 100 nucleus farmers in 16 districts of the five regions of the north.
The beneficiary districts are Yendi, Saboba, Karaga, Savelugu, Nanton, Gushiegu, West Mamprusi and East Mamprusi, Bawku Municipal, Bawku West and Binduri. The remaining includes Wa East, Sisala West, Sisala East, West Gonja and East Gonja.
Launching the project in Tamale, Deputy Minister for Agriculture in charge of crops, Yaw Frimpong Addo indicates there is growing unmet market demand and unused processing-export capacity, with the main bottleneck attributed to lack of capacity for medium and smallholder farmers to increase their annual Soyabean production.
He said in order to address the low soya bean yields under smallholder farming conditions, there is the need to facilitate the Soya value chain such that smallholder farmers will be linked to markets, finance, inputs, equipment, and information through larger commercial farmers and traders who have the capacity and incentive to invest in smallholder production.
These linkages according to him, will build the capacity of smallholder farmers to increase the efficiency of their farm businesses with improved production and post-harvest handling practices with an emphasis on processing for meeting the ever-increasing demands of the value chain.
Mr Frimpong said last year, the country produced 180,000 tons of soya bean, however, demand for soya bean during the period stood at 300,000 tons, which suggested that there was a huge gap to be filled through commercial production. The minister implored project partners to put in more efforts to make the project a success.
Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Ingrid Mollestad, on her part said the project means a lot to increase food security considering the fact that soyabean is one of the most important and healthiest food sources in the world for both human and animal protein. She said the project was important for job creation, to reduce unemployment amongst young people, and commended donor partners under the project. She expressed hope that the project would increase economic growth while contributing to transforming agriculture in the country.
SSPiNG Project Coordinator Professor Samuel Adjei-Nsiah, giving an overview of the project mentioned that project implementing partners were ready and committed to working together to realize the goals under the project.
Managing Director of Yara – Ghana, Mr Danquah Addo-Yobo, said Yara will play its role by supplying high quality fertilizer for farmers. He further stated that the company will work effectively with other partners to empower beneficiaries.
Soya bean is one of the crops emerging as a cash crop that farmers see as appropriate for soils that have lost fertility. The economic importance of Soya bean has gained popularity and acceptance among farmers due to its increasing market demand for domestic and industrial processing into cooking oil and animal feed.
Approximately 87% of the annual demand of Soya bean in the country is for industrial purposes of which 67% is used for animal feed especially in the poultry industry, 13% for oil and 7% for human food processing whilst about 13% is for producer household retention as seed and consumption.
By: Lilian D. Walter/zaanews.com/Ghana