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2050 Global Anti-Famine project

Feeding the nations sustainably through women smallholders

Photo of Debbie Ajei-Godson

Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Farminista Africa Limited

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.

Food Research Institute, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Savannah Agricultural Research Institute Burai Community Leaders

Website of Legally Registered Entity

www.farministaafrica.com

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Accra

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Ghana

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

Krachi Nchumuru , a major farming and fishing district in the Oti region of Ghana, has a total surface area of 2,969 square kilometres

What country is your selected Place located in?

Ghana

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

Krachi Nchumuru district, a predominantly farming and fishing community in the Oti Region of Ghana is my second home. This area historically records the highest amount of rainfall in Ghana. I work with community leaders here to improve the lives of women smallholders. Due to the visibility and impact of our project, I have earned the trust of a number of women and community leaders in this area.

Our women farmers in this area unlike their male counterparts, have challenges accessing and controlling arable land for farming and settlement. In the last two years community leaders in this area, have bought into our vision and subsequently released large tracts of land totalling approximately 4,300 acres to support our project of transitioning women smallholders into large scale agri-entrepreneurs. The project though at the proof of concept stage, has been successful in putting a local rice brand on the market.  

We support these women with land, inputs and market for their produce through a franchise model. More than half of the women we work with are widows who have been denied their spouse's properties due to oppressive cultural practices and young women who want to make a decent living in order to avoid being forced into marriage because of their needs. 

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

The Krachi Nchumuru District is one of the 260 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana, and forms part of the 8 of Municipalities and Districts in the Oti Region of Ghana. The District is located at the North Western corner of the Volta Region of Ghana and lies between Latitude 70 4” N and 8025’ N Longitude 00 25’ W and 00 20’ E. with its Administrative capital, Chinderi.

The major settlements include the following: Chinderi, Banda, Burai, Bejamsi, and Akaniem. The District takes advantage of its strategic location to attract investments from both Southern and Northern Ghana. Being strategically located in the transitional zone, the District’s closeness to the Bono East and Northern Regions makes it a potential avenue for wealth creation through greater internal trade and positive socio-cultural exchanges between the districts in these regions.

It is bounded to the south-east by Krachi West District, Krachi East Municipal to the east, Sene East District to the south-west and Kpandai District to the north. It has a total surface area of 2,969 square kilometres with water covering about 15%.The population of the District according to 2010 population and housing census stands at 72,688 with 36,649 males and 36,039 females.

The major source of water here is the  Volta Lake; the lake is the largest artificial reservoir in the world based on surface area. One of these settlements is Burai, the community in which Farminista Africa is predominant in. The population size in this community is about 17000, including women and children, and the land size is about 25600 Hectares. The dominant occupation in the town is farming, most of which is subsistent. Almost everyone does some kind of small scale farming even if it isn’t their main occupation. Due to the presence of the Volta Lake, some residents also engage in fish farming.  Teachers, health personnel and other skilled workers typically farm on the side for additional income and domestic use.

Common crops grown on farms are Rice, Corn, Groundnut, Chilli Pepper, and Yam. The district  has the potential to grow crops such as Millet, Sorghum, Fonio, Soybean, Cassava, Moringa and  tree crops such as Cashew and Cocoa. The prospects for crop and animal farming in this area are endless. 

Krachi Nchumuru district faces problems ranging from high illiteracy rate, rural-urban migration, unemployment, poverty, and lack of social amenities and infrastructure. A few strengths in the area have to do with the availability of large tracts of arable land, and a youthful workforce. 

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)

2969

What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?

73688

Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

Ghana remains a net importer of food while 42% of its land area remains uncultivated. The story of Krachi Nchumuru district is no different as it currently cultivates less than 10% of it total land area.  The under-cultivation of farm lands in this area can be attributed to the high rate of rural-urban migration. Ghana's rate of urbanisation is at an all time high of 55.41% with lack of social amenities, poverty and illiteracy being key drivers. As young men in this area seek greener pastures in the urban areas,  women, children and older folks are left to farm for subsistence. These rural farmers continue to heavily rely on the hand, hoe and human labour; factors responsible for their characteristic limited scale of production and delayed planting. 

According to 2018 World Health Organisation reports, out of 33.8% of Ghanaian children that were malnourished more than 20.2% were from Oti and Northern regions. Malnutrition in this area is the major cause of reduced resistance to diseases and its consequent high rate of infant mortality. Studies also show that more than half of the agricultural labor force in the Krachi Nchumuru district are women who cultivate less than two hectares of farmland every planting season and earn less than $300 from their farming ventures annually. These women smallholders, produce about 30% less on their farms compared to their male counterparts, mainly because of three main constraints: difficulty in accessing arable land, inadequate capital to fund their farm inputs and lack of market access for their produce. 

At the heart of these restrictions are the customary inheritance norms that determine access to land which conflicts with the existing legal regime. The unsecured access and limited control over land by women consequently affects their access to credit and decisions related to cropping and their ability to maintain diversified livelihood systems. Women who do not own land have little access to credit which requires collateral such ownership of land for one to obtain it. This results in low agricultural productivity since without credit women find it difficult to purchase essential resources such as seeds, tools and fertiliser.

High illiteracy and poverty rates in the Krachi district also poses a threat of conflicts among families and clansmen of the area.  Just as some parts of rural Sahel, the biggest cause of conflicts is poverty - lots of people sharing very limited resources and opportunities. The rise in conflicts also breeds fertile grounds for terrorist activities which can adversely affect Krachi's micro economy.  

By 2050, we foresee a full blown famine that is a culmination of reduced labor workforce due to rural-urban migration and its concomitant drop in food production, high rate of water pollution due to mining activities near and in water bodies around the Krachi Nchumuru district and reduced rainfall due to high rates of deforestation. 

Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Farminista’s vision attempts to reduce the inequalities among smallholder farmers. Male and female smallholder farmers would have equal access to farm resources:  arable land, farm inputs, and market for their produce after harvesting. This would be carried out through our farming-as-a-service model which will be made accessible to all farmers.

In our vision to create Agri-entrepreneurs using  Farming-as-a-service model, we aim to solve the urbanisation and unemployment challenges as well as ramp up food production and preservation to meet the growing population and to hedge against the likely incidence of a global famine by 2050. 

We are currently exploring the use of irrigation systems such as Boreholes in the Burai community. This is to help mitigate any challenges that may occur from low levels of rainfall, and pollution of water bodies in the community due to mining activities. Our first borehole system in Burai serves not only for use on our farms, but also for domestic use by our women since the main source of water in the town is from a river nearby. 

The bad road network and maintenance culture in our country sometimes make it difficult to transport produce to factories for processing - a major disincentive for farmers. Our vision aims to address this in two ways:  

- Micro industrialisation: The concept of micro industrialisation simply establishes small processing units on or close to farm sites to make value addition and preservation easier after harvesting. This removes the post harvest losses, tedious transportation and food waste problems most farmers and cooperatives have. 

-  Agro Logistics: Our vision is to design and assemble agro logistics systems such as Artificially Intelligent (AI) green trucks and affordable air cargoes to augment poor infrastructure used in transporting food from aggregation centres in the hinterlands to major cities regionally. 


High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

Farminista’s High Level Vision is to convert the Krachi Nchumuru area into the AgriDesign Capital of Africa. With the implementation of Farming-as-a-service model that will give farmers access to a broad range of services from global best practices, we would have created over 150000 Agri-Entrepreneurs in the communities by 2050, with emphasis on land conservation, food preservation and storage that maintains nutritional value at both primary and secondary production. This is primarily to match up with the rapidly growing population, reverse the trend of rural-urban migration and hedge against the incidence of a global famine by 2050. 

Women farmers will be empowered enough to afford and access all farming resources as their male counterparts. Their productivity would reflect in their augmented incomes  and improved livelihoods. As Farminista agri-entrepreneurs, they would have access to arable land, training on best farm practices, robotised farm help, resources in the form of improved seeds, fertilizers, equipment services, digitized extension services and precision agriculture technologies.

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

Our Vision to make Krachi Nchumuru district the Agri-Design Capital of Africa can be encompassed by 6 sub-visions:  

- Shared Value Corporate Strategy: The primary aim of the vision is to  build and rebuild business models around social good. One of  such is reducing inequalities in food production and making the lives of the smallholder farmers better by converting them into large-scale agri-entrepreneurs. We would achieve this using our farming-as-a-service business model to make available to these smallholder farmers: arable land, robotic farm help, digitised extension services precision agriculture technologies and access to market. This is going to empower the female smallholders and make them prosper. 

- Smart Food Design: We want to implement the concept of smart foods that is designed to address all aspects of the global food system by being good for the consumer, good for the planet, and good for the farmer. The smart food approach will tackle malnutrition and other diet related health issues, rural poverty and adaptation to and mitigation of climate change. Our smart foods will bring diversity to staples that are consumed locally and regionally.

- Micro-industrialization: We don’t just want to produce food crops, without adding value to them. As a part of this vision, we look forward to incorporating micro-industrialization which is the building of small food processing plants on or near farm sites. This reduces the transportation time between farm to processing unit. This is also a means of Preserving the life span of produce while maintaining a high level of nutrition. 

- Agricultural Logistics Hub: Smallholders generally find it challenging to afford agricultural machinery and transport systems. The vision of making Burai a logistics hub is to enable all farmers share access to these logistical resources in and outside the town through a shared service model. The hub will also be known for  designing and building of AI enabled green transportation systems that carry food from the hinterlands to urban areas.

- Food preservation Design Labs: Prolonging the shelf life of food produced is one of the ways to prevent food waste and hedge against famine. We want to set up food preservation labs that will research and design technologies that will enable us store produce up to 30 years without disturbing their nutritional content.

- Soilless Farming: There are numerous ’soilless’ farming technologies currently being used to grow food globally. Our goal is to re-design, promote and scale the technologies that help to produce  African foods in areas with high risk of land degradation.

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

  • Conference/event

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Photo of Ashlie Benson
Team

Hi Debbie Ajei-Godson ! I hope you're doing well. I remember you from the open submission phase for Food System Vision and want to reconnect because we are considering applying for a grant in Ghana to expand our network in West Africa. We would love to collaborate with you and I'd like to introduce you to our Director of West Africa, Mohammed. Feel free to send me an email at ashlie@agricycleglobal.com if you're interested.

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