Yara and the Ghanaian company Wienco entered into a partnership in 2008 and established the Ghana Grains Partnership (GGP). Building upon an initiative started by Wienco in 2005, the partnership has become known as Masara N’Arziki.
Yara and Wienco partnered to develop the GGP in 2008, inviting a bottom-up dialogue including local growers, with roll-out starting in 2009 with the establishment of the growers’ association Masara N’Arziki, meaning “Maize for Prosperity”. It has grown to become one of West Africa’s largest grain growing associations.
Yara’s participation in the GGP reflects on favourable experiences from similar public-private partnerships in which Yara is involved. The GGP has been supported by Yara also as part of our commitment to a uniquely African Green Revolution.
While Ghana is exploring its oil and gas reserves, agriculture remains the backbone of its economy. The sector is largely seen as a success story over the past couple of decades, with malnutrition and poverty rates on the decline. Still, yield levels fall short in an international perspective, and infrastructure, education, markets, extension services and financing fail to provide the support needed to induce more rapid growth.
The GGP is a public-private partnership and a value chain initiative. It consists of public institutions and private companies together with farmers and farmers’ associations, and includes traders and processors. The GGP aims to strengthen the market through improved infrastructure, closer collaboration and improved efficiency throughout the grain value chain. The emphasis is on food crop production, especially maize.
The initiative was made in response to the fact that food shortfalls in maize are a major problem in Western Africa. The GGP endeavours to develop a program of coordinated public-private activities with the aim of significantly scaling up current national initiatives along grain value chains.
Attention is given to complete agricultural value chains. In its initial phase the GGP has focused on improving transaction efficiency and distribution options at the demand end of the value chain. The partnership also examines how maize deliveries to new regional grain markets and a national school meals program could benefit from improved warehousing systems.
Farmers who join the program need to organize themselves in the Farmers’ Association “Masara N’Arziki”, which implies a number of benefits, including credit for inputs, guaranteed purchase price for outputs, quality extension services and training. Yield levels have steadily been rising, and in 2013 the association was Ghana’s biggest maize producer with more than 9,000 farmers cultivating over 21,000 ha in total.
The GGP was initiated in 2008, inviting a bottom-up dialogue including local growers, with roll-out starting in 2009 with the establishment of the growers’ association Masara N’Arziki. Yara’s participation in GGP builds on the favourable experiences from similar public-private partnerships in which Yara is involved, in Tanzania (TAP) and Malawi (MAP). After identifying the main challenges preventing Ghanaian farmers from producing better yields, work commenced with local government, donors, private-sector players, scientists and farming communities in a structured effort to strengthen and streamline the infrastructure for marketing, warehousing, logistics and input services.
In the absence of initial external financing support, Yara and Wienco have financed the initial input requirements and logistics by establishing a revolving fund for input credits and by granting two long term loans totalling USD 3 million. Yara Ghana also coordinated the supply of fertilizers to the project. Several warehouses have been rented for storage. The Association purchases the farmers’ maize crop and pays them for the maize supplied, minus the cost of inputs they have received.