Emmanuel Osei Akuamoah's viewpoint
Emmanuel Osei Akuamoah is the northern sector head of Ghana’s Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF), which has established a Soya Value Chain Project for supporting farmers to produce soya beans for the poultry industry.
How will agriculture financing support the poultry feed industry in Ghana?
Yellow maize and soya beans are the main raw materials for poultry feed. VCTF has initiated financial intervention for the four phases of the value chain (seed multiplication, production, aggregation and processing) that will ultimately lead to the increased production of livestock feeds for the poultry industry. The Fund is supporting financial interventions to agribusinesses involved in the production of maize and soya beans with €2.8 million disbursed so far. We also hope to have provided an additional €0.8 million during 2014 and we will continue to establish relationships with other key stakeholders who have the funds to ensure a constant flow of investment.
In what ways are smallholder farmers benefitting from this initiative?
Smallholder farmers have been grouped under nucleus farmers and farmer-based organisations. These farmers are given financial support for land preparation, purchase of seeds, and crop production. The farmers also get advice on farm management, including fertiliser application and weedicide or herbicide application. Produce from smallholder farmers is then aggregated and sold to the processors and milling companies, who produce the feeds for the poultry industry.
The farmers are therefore supported to ensure a constant supply of raw materials for the feed industry. This is particularly critical as it has been observed that, during some periods during the year, processors are operating below capacity, sometimes less than 50%, which means there is then a shortage of livestock feed.
What are the key factors for other countries to adopt a similar approach?
I believe there are four key factors for supporting the development of efficient livestock feed value chains. First, certified seeds for quality crops should be available. Secondly, there should be the establishment of a well-organised outgrower farmers’ scheme under well-resourced nucleus farmers. Thirdly, financing should be timely as farming is seasonal and time dependent. Finally, supply of raw materials should be regular and in sufficient quantities for the processors to produce their feeds.