A better service from dealers
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CTA. 2003. A better service from dealers. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/05. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57245
The president of an association of fertilizer dealers in Ghana explains why farmers should get a better deal in future.
Cue: Why is it that farmers in much of Africa find they have to pay five times the price for fertilizers than farmers in the rest of the world? It is certainly not because they are the most affluent! In an attempt to get a fairer deal for farmers in Ghana ? in whichever region they are farming - an association of private sector dealers has been formed. It?s called the Ghana Agri-Inputs Dealers Association and it?s based in Tamale. You might think that such an association might be bad news for farmers but Mark Kamilung, its president, says that when farmers are in business, so are the input dealers. He tells Sarah Reynolds about the problems that association members face. IN: ?The major problem is that . . . OUT: . . . we shall overcome the problems.? DUR?N 3?57? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Mark Kamilung of Ghana?s Agri-Inputs Dealers Association. Transcript Kamilung The major problem is that they are lacking working capital, the business capital to expand their work. Because agricultural inputs are very costly and they are in bulk. So they need money to expand. And I think the second problem is that most of the members need technical knowledge in the inputs that they deal in. Especially they have to know their right pesticides, and then to dish it out to the farmers in the right quantities. These are some of the problems we are trying to address Reynolds So your members are both large and small businesses are they? Kamilung Yes, we have very large dealers and very small dealers. There are some dealers who even control up to one billion cedis worth of business and some control as small as about half a million cedi business but they are all growing up. And then we are aiming to create a very competitive market. What do I mean by a competitive market? That prices will be almost at the same at all places to all farmers and that inputs will be at the doorsteps of farmers. Reynolds But that can?t happen surely when you?ve got some distributors up in Tamale which is a long way from the port ? which is where the fertilisers ? if we take fertilisers ? are coming in? Kamilung Yes, that is the major constraint now. Yes, you are very, very right. Because of infrastructure development, roads are very bad so transportation cost is very high. If you take on a per tonne basis, the amount you pay from Europe to Africa or to the port at Tema is the same thing as from Accra to Tamale within the same country. Reynolds That seems complete nonsense, doesn?t it? Kamilung Yes it is. And the farmer is the loser at the end. Because every overhead, every handling cost is finally shifted to the farmer who is the final consumer and that is actually affecting agriculture. Reynolds But it does sound though as if there are people between the importers and the farmers ? the users ? in other words your members, who are perhaps being a little bit greedy? Kamilung Oh yes there are. They also do so. People capitalize on the lack of certain inputs in very far places in the country and over price. Sometimes they fix their margins which is very bad. And this is one of the big exercises that the association is trying to carry out ? to try to educate members at least to fix reasonable margins. It?s true. Some of the members are capitalizing on the situation. Reynolds But what sanction have you got other than taking away their membership? Kamilung Well we are liaising with the Ministry of Agriculture, governmental organizations that we can caution such members when they go outside our guidelines and then if they continue, with the help of government, we can ban them completely. Reynolds Now the other big problem that I?ve always heard that the dealers are accused of ? or maybe it?s the importers, you must tell me ? is the question of timing. So that farmers in one region wanting to put fertilizers or other agricultural inputs ? crop protection materials ? on their crops ? and there is a small window of time in which they can do it - and the products are simply not available in the shops and stalls and markets for them to get there. Are you as an association doing anything to address this problem? Kamilung It is very, very true. That is one of the reasons why the association has been formed. In the past it was so. Sometimes when farmers need to apply a compound and it doesn?t come at the right time. When it?s time to apply nitrogen fertilizer like urea or sulphate of ammonia ? the same thing. With the formation of the association we have created regional branches to make sure that at least the movement of inputs to farmers? doorsteps before the beginning of rains. We are also liaising with the big importers that they should always have some buffer stock especially at their regional warehouses so that it can be pushed very fast to our dealers who also push it to the farmers. This is one of the biggest reasons why we created the association. And we are working hand in hand with the big importers and we hope in time we shall overcome the problems. End of track.