In recent years, a number of innovative entrepreneurs have stepped in to help reverse the declining state of the agricultural sector in Ghana. In 2020, Green Gold Farms Limited (GGFL) Ghana – an Accra-based agribusiness that uses innovative means to support the agricultural sector – became one of the country’s largest soybean farms, employing over 400 people with 63,000 acres of farmland.
It intends to leverage Ghana’s geographical location to serve as a food-basket to the West African sub-region. This combined with other equally conducive factors such as political stability, arable land, good climatic conditions, labour availability and a good business climate, ranked Ghana first in West Africa as the preferred investment destination.
Agriculture has been the backbone of Ghana’s economy since time memorial, and has helped sustain the country as well as alleviate poverty.
In view of this, GGFL has taken the step to assist women groups access land, input devices among others that will help boost the agro-business of women in rural areas.
GGFL is therefore poised to be the largest vertically orientated and value adding agriculture business in Ghana, aimed at moving over one million Ghanaians out of poverty in remote areas and enhancing sustainability of their activities.
Though some agricultural production requires intensive capital for commercial production, access to fertile land gives farmers opportunity to cultivate a specific crop suitable for the land in the country.
Women from the rural communities face a lot of challenges in accessing land for their crop productions. It has therefore also been hampering the effort of gallant farmers ready to work and ensure food security in the country.
The call for support to the farmers has been a national issue with lots of potential farmers struggling. Green Gold Farms has taken the risk to assist women groups in the farming communities with access to land, farm inputs and other resources which will boost their morale to engage in the sector; as well as help reduce Ghana’s food import bill by 60% over the next 10 years.
The initiative is to enable women groups to own some farmlands and cultivate – after which the organisation will buy the goods produced from them. Some stakeholders also call for backyard gardening as a means to curb hunger in the country.
Large-scale commercial farms are rare in Ghana, with most farms averaging less than 4 acres. The manual approach of small-scale farmers such as Kofi Labia is backbreaking, unprofitable and a largely thankless task.
To address this challenge, the Chief Finance Officer of Green Gold Farms Ghana, Kwame Marfo, disclosed that the company plans on using regenerative agriculture to boost socio-, political and economic growth. In his explanation, he stated that by using regenerative agriculture, the company will focus on improving soil health with practices such as avoiding the use of mineral fertilisers, synthetic pesticides and herbicides.
This means sacrificing yields in the short-term. However, increasing organic matter in the soil leads to more nutrient-dense food, with a higher nutrient retention capacity and reduced water usage and less soil erosion. This leads to long-term and more sustainable boost in yields, profitability and resiliency of Green Gold Farms and other local small-scale farms in the rural communities.
In an interview, the Founder and Chief Executive officer (CEO) of Green Gold Farms Ghana, George Boakye Sarpong, envisioned a growing movement within the country to make agriculture the gateway to economic growth.
He further stated: “My question has always been, in a country where there is so much rich, fertile, arable land and able bodies, why do we need to import so much food? Why can’t we produce it ourselves and create jobs? I founded Green Gold Farms to answer these questions”.
His vision and mission were strongly backed by the Senior Social Protection Specialist of the World Bank, Christabel Dadzie, who emphasised the traditional challenges of youth and female unemployment.
According to Ms. Dadzie, women have a challenge getting jobs, while youth unemployment and underemployment are high. Of the 250,000 young people who enter the job market each year, just about 2% or 5,000 find work in the formal sector.
“Agriculture can play a major role in addressing this problem. Studies conducted at the World Bank show agribusiness as one of the highest job multipliers of any industry in the private sector of Ghana,” she said.
He stressed that favourable policy environment, access to capital and technology will do the sector a great deal of good. He said agriculture is one sector where the organisation hopes to compete favourably with the world and generate wide social, political and economic benefits to help feed the nation.