Dizengoff Ghana seeks to meet the needs of small-scale farmers in Sierra Leone
By Shira Aliza
Approximate reading time: 4 minutes.
Around 7.7 million people live in Sierra Leone today – slightly more than the population of Washington State. But while Sierra Leone’s entire GDP stood at 4 billion USD in 2017, Washington State’s GDP from agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting alone exceeded 7 billion USD in that same year. Since almost 60% of Sierra Leone’s GDP comes from the agriculture sector, increasing agricultural productivity would significantly boost the whole Sierra Leonean economy.
One of the obstacles facing farmers in Sierra Leone is the lack of appropriate tools. Currently, the country’s agriculture sector consists mostly of small-scale farms operating at a near-subsistence level. Dizengoff Ghana’s mission is to provide farmers with the tools and training they need to do one of the most important jobs in the world – feeding people. This leading international company has been active in Ghana for the past 62 years, managing transactions ranging in size from large turnkey projects to single cans of merchandise.
The company’s agriculture division offers a variety of products and services within the following categories: seeds, fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides; farm machinery and mechanization tools; irrigation systems (drip, sprinkler and center pivot); and Dizengoff-Ghana’s flagship product, the “Dizengoff Farming Kits,” that offer farmers a one-stop-solution to setting up and operating small to large scale greenhouses adapted to the farmers’ needs and the local soil and climate conditions.
The company’s capacity to meet the needs of both large industrial operations and individual farmers makes its services particularly appropriate to the expansion of Sierra Leone’s food production capabilities. Dizengoff Ghana can provide Sierra Leone’s small-scale farmers with the tools and products needed to cultivate their land more efficiently and effectively. And as these farmers increase their yields and grow their operations, Dizengoff Ghana can draw on its expertise servicing larger clients to accompany the farmers as they move towards bigger harvests, guaranteeing food security for Sierra Leoneans and strengthening the country’s economy by exporting the surplus.
Dizengoff Ghana’s General Manager Waldo Boshoff and Irrigation and Greenhouse Manager Samuel Abbey’s first ever visit to Sierra Leone took place during the Empower Africa Agriculture Trade Mission. Waldo and Samuel joined the Trade Mission delegation with the goal of understanding the specific needs of the Sierra Leone farmers to ascertain how Dizengoff Ghana can contribute to improving their agricultural yields and boosting Sierra Leone’s agriculture sector.
As Waldo says:
“If you do what you did, you are going to get what you got. Farmers are doing a great service to the people of Sierra Leone. However, in order to improve the harvest yields and develop the agriculture sector in Sierra Leone, the farmers cannot keep doing what they have done until now. We came on this Trade Mission without much knowledge of Sierra Leone and its agricultural needs, and we observed several concrete ways in which we can help the farming community in Sierra Leone cultivate its land in a much more efficient manner. For example, we noticed the lack of small harvesting and seeding tools that could be used by individual, non-industrial farmers, and we were introduced to potential business partners with whom we can work to bring these tools to Sierra Leone. We are moving forward on some of the projects initiated during the Trade Mission, and we are already planning our next trip to Sierra Leone.
Empower Africa was instrumental in bringing us into the commercial and agricultural reality of Sierra Leone. The Trade Mission connected us with important local partners who will be vital to our success in the country. The field day and the visit to Sunbird Bioenergy was eye opening in terms of appreciating what can be done in Sierra Leone. The post-Trade Mission follow-up with Empower Africa has also been extremely helpful and consistent. We believe that Ezi and his team are in Sierra Leone to make a difference, and we are very excited to see where this partnership goes.”
Providing smaller farmers with the equipment needed to increase productivity and profitability is the one of many steps on the road towards a modern agriculture sector in Sierra Leone – an agriculture sector that can feed the population and serve as an engine for economic growth. If you would like to learn more about getting involved in agriculture in Sierra Leone, contact Empower Africa’s Director of Agriculture Maoz Aviv at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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