Let’s talk agribusiness: Aflasafe GH02 grafted onto the agro-input business in Ghana
It’s action stations on several fronts for Aflasafe commercialisation in Ghana, with a special focus on aflatoxin awareness and Aflasafe training during the third quarter of 2018. Working with partners, we have made great strides in expanding knowledge of aflatoxin and the Aflasafe solution across society, from decision makers to industry to smallholder farmers.
For this, we wield a double-edged blade. Firstly, people need to know about the dangers of aflatoxin and why they should care. As in many African countries, aflatoxin is widespread in Ghana – recent research, for example, tested infant foods and found that all were contaminated with aflatoxin, often above safe limits – and poses significant health risks, as well as making our harvests less attractive for lucrative markets. Secondly, they need to know what they can do about it, by using Aflasafe alongside other good practices. Farmers and agribusinesses clearly need plenty of information on how to use Aflasafe, but it is just as important to reach out to buyers such as the food and poultry industries to make them aware that a cost-effective aflatoxin solution is available.
This double-edged awareness is starting to bite. We are delighted to note that Nestlé Ghana have recently included Aflasafe in the mycotoxin mitigation guidelines they send to all their suppliers – in other words, making it standard practice to use Aflasafe. This ringing endorsement is a great kickstart to Aflasafe demand in Ghana, and provides persuasive evidence that major buyers want aflatoxin-safe grain. Our interim distribution partners, Macrofertil Ghana Ltd, will be able to use this as an important building block in growing the Aflasafe market.
Awareness through training and demonstrations
In recent months we have been working hard with key partners to provide them within training, particularly to ‘train the trainers’, as we continue to build collaborative relationships. Hundreds of staff from agribusinesses, NGOs and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) have learned about the health and financial threats posed by aflatoxin and how to use Aflasafe to manage it effectively, drinking in awareness and knowledge that they will in turn share with thousands of farmers.
A number of partnerships have made this possible. Working with DFID’s Market Development Programme for Northern Ghana (MADE) to demonstrate the effectiveness of Aflasafe in groundnuts to Ghanaian agribusinesses, we held several training sessions in Ghana’s three northern regions for close to 100 participants from 41 agribusinesses. We have provided similar support to the USAID Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) programme, with specific trainings on maize in the northern regions, and to GIZ’s Market Oriented Agricultural Programme—North-West (MOAP–NW), demonstrating Aflasafe on sorghum in Jirapa District, Upper West Region. With support from the Amplifies–Ghana project, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) worked with us to train a diverse group of 30, including agricultural extension agents from MoFA, technical and field officers and and nucleus farmers – local leaders who provide tractor services and inputs to other smallholder farmers and aggregate crops for sale to buyers.
To further our goal of building capacity for providing long-term sustainable support for Aflasafe adoption, we carried out training for field staff from the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP). This enabled them to further train 200 agro-input dealers in northern Ghana, the largest partner group trained to date. These agro-input dealers are now able to offer even better quality services to farmers – not just by providing Aflasafe and information on aflatoxin management, but also with broader knowledge on crop production and improved business-management skills. Ahead of the training, AFAP and AGRA issued a widely covered joint press release (see for example Modern Ghana, Ghana News Agency and AgricInGhana).
At the same time, farmers across northern Ghana will soon be seeing Aflasafe in action with their own eyes. So far, Macrofertil has supported the set-up of 20 demonstrations working closely with partners in the three northern regions, as well as one in the Brong Ahafo Region. Providing support, training and guidance to strengthen the demonstrations, we also mobilise partners on the ground who are active in the maize, sorghum and groundnut value chains, for example acting as aggregators (bulk buyers who bridge the gap between farmers and large industrial or export purchasers). These include cooperatives, nucleus farmers, agribusinesses and development organisations (ADVANCE, MADE, and GIZ MOAP–NW).The demonstrations also host farmer field days and training sessions in local languages, the first of which were held in August and September.
Macrofertil have now begun distributing Aflasafe GH02 in Ghana – and their agents too have received comprehensive training on Aflasafe. Currently, Aflasafe GH02 is on sale at 11 locations across five regions in Ghana. Meanwhile, we continue working to identify prospective manufacturing partners and develop agreements to produce Aflasafe within the country. Discussions are at an advanced stage and we expect to progress further during the final months of 2018.
Several more collaborations are in the works, and we will be carrying out further awareness campaigns, demonstrations, and training, all fine-tuned based on initial feedback. Stay tuned for more from go-getting Ghana!