Over 700 outgrower farmers from six zones in 60 communities in the Western Region have received Covid-19 relief items from B-BOVID, a leading agribusiness and social enterprise company at a brief ceremony in Takoradi in the Western Region.
The items were presented to the farmers by the Chief Executive Officer of B-BOVID, lssa Quedraogo at the company’s premise in Takoradi. The items include machetes, Wellington boots, new and improved varieties of maize, pepper and garden eggs seeds.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Issa Quedraogo said B-BOVID in partnership with AgDevco’s Smallholder Department Unit (SDU) decided to support the farmers as part of efforts to help alleviate the negative impact of Covid-19 on their farming activities. He noted that B-BOVID is supporting the outgrowers to engage in alternate livelihoods in order to benefit from multiple revenue streams as part of the company’s COVID-19 recovery relief package. He said as part of the strategy, B-BOVID is embarking on a program to find and create new markets and products for its outgrowers to promote diversity, economic reliance and sustainability.
Speaking on behalf of the farmers, Sofohene Ango, one of the leaders of the group thanked B-BOVID for its continuous support for the farmers. He praised the company for its innovative, sustainable business model which has added significant value to their operations.
B-BOVID is a social enterprise agribusiness company that promotes a new model of socially inclusive commercial farming that combines innovative agricultural practices with ecological farming. It promotes diverse land use as an alternative to monoculture and empowers smallholder farmers through capacity building and the provision of inputs thereby enhancing their livelihoods, while promoting agroforestry systems that mix staple and cash crops, thereby conserving and restoring the environment through biodiversity.
COVID-19 Impacts on Agriculture
Since March 12th 2020, when the first case of COVID-19 was recorded in Ghana, all of Ghana’s institutions have had to adapt to its reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on nearly every facet of life, and food systems are no exception. It has magnified systemic challenges faced by smallholder farmers and value chain actors in the agriculture sector. Major disruptions to food and input supply chains have put the finances of smallholder farmers and food security of many at risk.
The lockdown in Ghana, amidst the novel disease, led to disruptions in transport and logistics which impacted negatively on agricultural supply chain and the agribusiness activities. The three-week lockdown of some cities disrupted the food system and markets. This caused panic buying which caused food prices to spike across major urban areas. It also exacerbated the fear that farmers would not have access to inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and insecticides, thus disrupting the planting season. The limited access to the export market also affected the planting decisions by farmers, thus affecting food production.
Fisherfolks were also not left behind with the adverse effects of COVID-19, particularly on transportation. The fisher folk from Central Region were not allowed to come into the Greater Accra Region, so they sent their goods off with drivers and asked their partners to pick up the fish from those drivers. However, the system did not work too well because of the unscrupulous nature of some of the drivers and/or traders. Thousands of cedis worth of fish were lost in this process. Some transporters have still not recovered from the losses of this period.