The project supported the construction of 10 fertilizer warehouses for 10 hub-agrodealers under APC matching grants. The warehouses have contributed an additional 48,900 tons of capacity space in inland storage facilities in Ghana. Hub-agrodealers assisted by AFAP now have facilities with a total of 68,950 tons of storage capacity (see Table 1). This assistance contributes significantly to the timely availability of fertilizers during the peak demand period.
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Sales by hub-agrodealers
Since 2014, the volume of fertilizer sold through hub-agrodealers has increased exponentially. The project contributed significantly to the timely availability of fertilizer as hub-agrodealers were able to store large volumes of fertilizer during the peak-demand periods. The Ministry of Food in Agriculture estimates that fertilizer use has increased from 8 kg per hectare to 12 kg per hectare in Ghana, AFAP made a contribution to this.
A total of 39,213 tons were sold, valued at over $16.7 million This was an increase of about 30,000 tons over the 2015 sales volume and an increase of over 32,000 tons from 2014 figures when AFAP assisted hubs were at full implementation.
Under guarantee facility, 21,336 tons valued at over $11.3 million were recorded under two full seasons of implementation.
Number of fertilizer importers and blenders supported
AFAP has been providing support to fertilizer-importing companies and blenders in Ghana. The support includes the provision of supplier credit, the development of a network of hub-agrodealers and rural-agrodealers through capacity building, and the provision of market linkages services. AFAP’s aim is to professionalize both the hub-agrodealers and rural-agrodealers to be able to respond to the needs of upstream and downstream actors. AFAP has been working with seven of the main fertilizer-importing companies and/or blenders directly or through hub-agrodealers. For example, the provision of fertilizer storage capacity allowed the hub-agrodealers to stock large volumes of fertilizers ahead of the peak demand periods. This ensured the timely supply of fertilizers to their retail network, thereby enhancing last-mile delivery of fertilizers to smallholder farmers.
Number of rural-agrodealers reached
The hub-agrodealers added 183 new rural-agrodealers to their network during the course of the project, bringing the number of rural-agrodealers served by the 10 hub-agrodealers to 545 (see Table 2).
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Number of smallholder farmers reached
More than 400,000 smallholder farmers were reached through hub-agrodealers and their networks of over 500 rural-agrodealers through direct sales (see Table 3). Organized farmers’ groups pool their demands and make arrangements with hub dealers to purchase what they need on credit through agribusiness service providers (produce aggregators). These arrangements have not only helped farmers gain access to fertilizers on time, they have also ensured fertilizers are delivered to their doorsteps, so farmers do not have to travel long distances to big commercial towns to purchase them. Some hub-agrodealers are making plans to construct warehouses in the farming communities, which will also help to shorten the distances some farmers travel to purchase fertilizers.
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Support for out-growers
As a pilot activity to increase market access with buyers, AFAP Ghana facilitated a contractual agreement between FYSSO Ghana and Pure & Perfect Enterprise (see Box 1) to supply 15 tons of fertilizer to smallholder farmers cultivating rice in the Volta region under an out-grower scheme. AFAP Ghana drafted the contract and facilitated the signing by all parties. Sinapi Aba Savings and Loans, a local bank, guaranteed the agreement. The arrangement allowed FYSSO Ghana to pay 50% of the total cost of the fertilizers and pay the remaining 50% after harvest on behalf of the farmers.
Awareness creation activities were organized to help farmers learn how the use of improved seeds and fertilizers act in concert to increase farmers’ productivity. These activities included showcasing fertilizers and improved seeds to farmers by establishing demonstration plots, as well as organizing field days and input fairs. Awareness was also generated through radio advertisements and talk shows.
Over 187,200 smallholder farmers were reached through awareness-creation activities organized by the hub-agrodealers. In 2014, 52 demonstration plots were established and, in 2015, another 25 were added. According to the hub-agrodealers, the various awareness programs, which included field-days and talk shows, contributed to an increase in the use of fertilizer among smallholder farmers.
According to Ms. Elizabeth Dwamena, the CEO of Northgate, “the use of demonstration plots is one of the surest ways to help farmers appreciate any new technologies”. The principal applies that: “Demonstrations stick better in the minds of farmers than when it is told.”
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Business management training
AFAP organized training for 27 rural-agrodealers/retailers and 13 hub-agrodealers. A one-day session in Techiman was conducted for distributors operating in the Northern, Upper-West, Upper-East, and Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Volta regions. A second training session took place in Accra for distributors operating in the Western, Eastern, Central and Greater Accra regions. Some of the training modules covered were as follows:
- business planning;
- cash-flow projection;
- challenges facing hub-agrodealers;
- management expertise;
- profit and loss projection;
- understanding working capital for hub-agrodealers; and
- drafting a balance sheet.
Under the AFAP Volunteer Program (AFVP), 35 rural-agrodealers operating within the retail networks of hub-agrodealers Northgate and Sakant received training from a US-based business development expert.
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