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Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) - Success Stories

 

Introduction

Documentation of best practices, lessons and success stories was an integral part of ACDEP’s facilitation of the industrial crops commodity window for the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) which was implemented in the three northern regions and selected districts of the Brong Ahafo Region. While a number of success stories were recorded during the implementation phase, three of such stories are shared here while the rest are being investigated to ascertain their attribution to the programme.

 

1. Access to Production Credit:The Fanning Flame for Solomon Ayugane’s Farming Success

“Twenty-one thousand Ghana cedis (GH21,000.00) for one hundred and forty (140) bags of rice” was the quote that greeted us amidst beaming smiles as we entered Solomon Ayugane’s house. Bags of maize were heaped in his compound ready for marketing. Bursting with so much joy, the smiles never faded from his face as Solomon turned from the aggregator to attend to the visiting ACDEP team. Then, he narrated his story.

Solomon said, although he had two personal bullocks which he used to plough his fields and also applied NPK fertilizer to his crops, the yield was not as desired. He had intentions to increase his acres and to boost his production and yield but could not do so because of the heavy inputs required and his inability to access bank credit to purchase these inputs.  He said with a family of six members, he had serious financial challenges as most of the family’s socio-economic needs could not be adequately provided for, including paying his children’s school fees.

Solomon Ayagane

“Before ACDEP’s intervention, my farming was quite different and uncoordinated”. He used to cultivate Maize, Rice and Soya beans on few acres. He however, recorded low yields and inadequate income as shown in the table below:

CROP

ACRES

BAGS (100KG)

AMOUNT GH

MAIZE

7

7 (100kg)

490

RICE

9

25 (100kg)

3,750

SOYA

7

7 (100kg)

1,400

TOTAL

23

39 (100 KG)

5,640

Through ACDEP’s facilitation of the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Solomon became a member of the Old Tono Farmer-based Organization (FBO) which consisted of 12 farmers. He is the chairman of the group. This was after a Field Business Facilitator (FBF) from NRGP had elaborated on the benefits of joining the FBO. Solomon said as a member of the group he received training on Good Agricultural Practices which he accordingly adopted on his farms. The FBO was also trained in group dynamics to improve the capacity of the group in decision-making processes, managing linkages and business partnerships. The FBO opened a group bank account as well as individual accounts at the Nara Rural Bank and members were able to access credit to boost their farming activities. Through the group, Solomon was able to access production credit through the cashless model from the bank which enabled him to have access to quality seeds, herbicides, weedicides, NPK fertilizers and hired labour. Having reliable access to farm inputs and the capacity to manage his farm business stimulated the flame of his success in farming. Through his membership of the group, he has been able to expand his production capacity and improved his yields and incomes as indicated in the table below:

Crop

Acres

Number of bags (100Kg)

Amount GH

Before

After

Before

After

Before

After

Maize

7

20

7 (100kg)

140 (100kg)

490

21,000

Rice

9

11

25 (100kg)

220 (100kg)

3,750

44,000

Soya

7

15

7 (100kg)

105 (100kg)

1,400

21,000

Total

23

46

39 (100kg)

 465 (100kg)

5,640

86,000

As his incomes improved, Solomon Ayugane was able to acquire a motor-tricycle to support his farm work by transporting inputs and hired labour to the farm; conveying produce from the farm to the house or marketing centres and also for other commercial purposes to generate additional income.  He also indicated that his finances have improved tremendously and he can now adequately cater for his family’s needs to the extent that he has used part of his savings in constructing a personal house in his village. The building is about 95% completed.

According to Solomon, because of improved capacity in doing farming as a business and the dividends accrued from his business, he bought another pair of bullocks solely for commercial use. He remarked “This season, I used my bullocks to plough 20 acres for other farmers in my community at a fee and this also earned me GH1,000.00”. Solomon further disclosed that he has a better life now than before, thanks to NRGP.

 

 “I have really appreciated the capacity building I got from NRGP through the farmer group to take farming as a business and for also linking the group to the bank for easy access to credit facilities to improve our farming businesses. Also, due to the effective use of fertilizer, weedicides, herbicides, quality seeds on which I was trained, my production and yield have improved.”​  

 

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Solomon Ayagane (behind) using his bullocks to plough his field

 


2. Buku Enterprise expands inputs supply to farmer in Sissala West District through business linkages and credit support

 It was an awesome breakthrough, Buku Enterprise now stands tall; from a retailing chemical shop to retailing of variety of inputs like agro chemicals, fertilizer, Knap sack sprayers and hand-held planters, in a more different and appealing style. Trying to figure out just how this came about, a team of Field Business Facilitators (FBFs) was led to Buku Kasim’s Input shop at Pulima in the Sissala East District of the Upper West Region where they were much intrigued by the immense agro chemicals on display. The team then decided to delve into the elements of Buku Kasim’s success.

Buku nrgp3bukuused to buy his chemical products from Tumu, the capital of Sissala East District. He used to buy the products in small quantities and at exorbitant prices. This earned his enterprise a small margin of profit. However, through the facilitation of ACDEP, the Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) served as a bridge across which his idea of success evolved.

Kasim joined NRGP in April 2015 at a time when the Upper West Regional team had already designed and rolled out a strategy to identify actors in the chain who farmers or the Farmer Based Organisations (FBO) would be confortable dealing with. FBOs were therefore, asked to identify or choose actors that they would like to work with. Among the actors mentioned in Pulima community was Buku Kasim. After discussing and sharing production intentions of farmers with him, he was delighted to supply the inputs but his limited resources would not be able to meet the demands of the farmers. At that time his enterprise had no bank account with any of the participating financial institutions working with NRGP and therefore Kasim could not have access to credit.

 

Buku Kasim during stocktaking at his fertilizer shop in Nyimati

Having explained to Kasim how the programme model works, he was then linked to one of the major input dealers in the region, 18th April. After an initial assessment of Buku and his enterprise, 18th April supplied Buku with fertilizer and other chemicals worth eighty-six thousand, eighty cedis (GH₵86,080) on credit.

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Buku Kasim (right) meets 18th April (left) Kasim in a pose with Rafik (FBF).                                    Buku Kasim supplies hand-held planters to Farmers at Nymatiin infront    of 18th April

 

         

The desire to harness this opportunity coupled with the urgency to meet repayment deadlines of his supplier compelled him to modify his marketing strategy by moving from community to community to meet farmers at their door step. He also monitored the various community market days in both Sissala East and West districts and took advantage of the market days to sell his products. Between May and September 2015, Buku was able to make a profit of three thousand, one hundred and fifty Ghana Cedis (GH₵ 3,150.00) from the sale of his products to farmers.

Marketing with a rented motor tricycle cost Buku a lot. Therefore, following a cost benefit analysis he resolved to purchase his own motor tricycle to reduce operational cost. He made part payment of GH₵2,500.00 for a Motor King Tricycle and subsequently made full payment. His performance as an agro-chemical dealer was so remarkable that 18th April supplied Buku enterprise with other products like Knap sacks and other fertilizers on credit.

A spark grew into a flame, a desire into passion! The Nymati area was another window of opportunity for Buku. With the level of capacity and empowerment he received from being an actor in the value chain, Buku established another agro-chemical outlet to serve Nyimati and the surrounding communities. Having a short time to sow their crops due to the delay in the rains called for a technology to facilitate farmers’ work. Therefore, NRGP facilitated the initiation of another link between Buku and ANTIKA Co, another big Input Dealer in the region. The latter supplied Buku with hand-held planters for farmers participating in the programme on credit which enabled the farmers to plant in rows.

Smart Buku! Just before the fertilizer application period ended, Buku realized that he still had stock of fertilizers which he needed to dispose. So he engaged two of the women groups to whom he supplied NPK fertilizer on credit with 50% down payment. They were to pay the other 50% at the end of the season with the equivalent of produce from their farms.

Buku has also paid back the credit to ANTIKA and 18th April. From the profit made and the income gained from the motor tricycle service, he hopes to expand his business next season and include more inputs.

Currently with Buku’s Motor Tricycle, farmers living in distance communities have easy access to farm inputs without having to travel to the district capital.

When asked what business plans he had for the coming years, Buku Kasim who participated in business plan development training said he has started developing his business plan and would make provisions in the plan to apply for NRGP’s matching grant to enable his enterprise purchase a Kia truck to facilitate his business.

 

 


 

3. Promoting Agro-business Linkages Results in the Establishment of Dominic Ventures Agro Dealers Shop

The development and establishment of maize and sorghum linkages have been very critical in the Banda District in the Brong-Ahafo Region of Ghana. The flow of information on production technologies, access to inputs, credit, and market information as well as other agricultural services has been source of worry to farmers in the district.nrgp7 This has had a negative impact on the production levels and farmers’ incomes for the over 60% of the majority of the people who are farmers in the district.

However, one of the key challenges that confronted farmers in the district was the absence of an agro-input shop. This situation compelled farmers to spend more time and money to travel as far as to Wenchi and Tain to buy inputs. In some cases they were not able to access the required inputs on time. Thus, the situation affected the cost of production of these farmers. 

As part of strategies to address this challenge, ACDEP through its facilitation role under NRGP and in collaboration with the district department of agriculture established various business platforms to encourage actors in the value chain to meet and transact business. The formation of the Banda District Value Chain Committee (DVCC) and the establishment of Agro-Input Dealers Day created and strengthen agri-business transactions among actors in the district.

Dominic Sarkordie

Desirous to close the gap of inadequate access to agro-inputs, inadequate knowledge of proper application of agro-inputs, ACDEP, Department of Agriculture and the DVCC facilitated the celebration of agro-input dealers’ day in Banda. This event brought together the various actors in the chain especially farmers and input dealers including WIENCO, the larger producer of agro chemicals in the nation. The lead input dealer at the event, Oriented Agrochemicals displayed various types of agro-inputs and provided information on places where these inputs could be purchased, their right application and proper disposal of expended containers.

It was at this event that Dominic Sarkodie interacted with the key input dealer, Aaron Akyea of Oriented Agrochemicals. During the interaction, Dominic expressed his intent to become a sales agent of Oriented Agrochemicals in the Banda district. Unfortunately, he had no business credentials to support his intent. Therefore, after the forum, the Field Business Facilitator (FBF) under NRGP organized and facilitated a couple of meetings between Dominic and Aaron to discuss the conditions of the business partnership between the two potential partners. Thus, through ACDEP’s facilitation, Dominic became an actor in the chain and with this recognition Oriented Agrochemicals provided credit and technical support for the establishment of an agro-input shop in Banda. This effort eventually led to the emergence of Dominic Ventures Agro Dealers Shop as the main agro-input actor in the chain.

Dominic Sarkodie has registered Dominic Ventures Agro Dealers Shop (which happens to be the only key agro-input shop) in Banda district. He is also a registered member of the DVCC. This new development has brought so much joy to the farmers in Banda as they are optimistic that this will improve their production levels since they now have easy access to agro-chemicals and other inputs. The establishment of the agro-input shop has also enabled the farmers to save time and money as they no longer have to travel to far places like Tain, Wenchi and Techiman to purchase agro-inputs.  

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Dominic (left) explains the use of some of the chemicals to Matthew - FBF (left)

The district that used not to have any single agro-input outlet to serve our farmers can now boast of a reliable agro-input   shop. What a joy it is”, says a farmer who was at Dominic Ventures Agro Dealers Shop to by inputs.

“Congratulations to the organizers of the Input Dealers Day! Yes, congrats for this wonderful idea the event has brought to me and the people of Banda”, Dominic remarked.

 

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