More buyers, new jobs and higher incomes: Organic vegetable production creates prospects in Ghana
Benjamin Kofi is a former teacher who recently retired. However, relying on his pension fund only wasn’t an option for the 63-year-old man from the rural community Tstisia in Ghana. He prefers to top up his pension fund for his descendants and says: ‘I don’t want to be a financial burden to any of my seven children. I want them to focus on their education.’ Five of his children already went through university and his last born is currently studying at the university of professional studies in Accra.
‘I don´t want to be a financial burden to any of my seven children. I want them to focus on their education.’
Tstisia is a small community near Aburi which is known for its diverse vegetation and botanical gardens. Benjamin Kofi owns a vegetable farm and even once won an award as the best vegetable farmer in the district. However, there wasn’t enough demand on the market for all his products, so he often suffered from post-harvest loss and the business remained far below its potential.
Organic certification training to access new markets
Then one day, as part of the Farmers Resilient Package project, an agricultural extension officer and agronomist from So-B-Green visited his community offering trainings to interested vegetable farmers. Benjamin Kofi learnt that if he and other farmers would form a cooperative and produce according to organic standards, they would gain access to a new and wider market.
‘We learned a lot of ways how to produce without chemicals and we were also given organic seedling which are very hard to get in Ghana.’
This could finally mean an end to post-harvest losses. With enough demand on the market-side the farmers could produce all year round, selling more of their produce than ever before. Thus, Benjamin Kofi decided to participate in the training and went around to convince his fellow vegetable farmers to join as well. ‘We learned a lot of ways how to produce without chemicals and we were also given organic seedling which are very hard to get in Ghana,’ he says.
Growing farms and an end to crop loss
Thanks to the project’s support in cooperation with So-B-Green, his and many other farms grew so successfully that just a few months later Benjamin Kofi was able to employ two more young people on his farm. His farm keeps growing every day without any harvest going to loss and attracts more and more farmers to join the organic way of production. ‘Since the training our product never got wasted again,’ Benjamin Kofi says.
Later, Benjamin Kofi was selected as the chairman of the newly founded ASOFCOM cooperative. ASOFCOM stands for Akuapem South Organic Farming Cooperative Growing and Marketing Society Limited – a name the farmers have chosen collectively. Together, they have built a green house and will soon supply their products to a nearby collection center which was established by So-B-Green.