Focus: Land Resources
Location: Accra, Ghana
Agriculture is one of the largest driving economic forces in the world. In Ghana, over half of the population is engaged in agricultural production. More than 90% of this production is done by smallholder farmers, who reside and work on small plots of land where one or two cash crops are grown. These farms rely almost exclusively on family labor to be successful, and they often lack the skills, education and resources to properly care for their cows and sell them on the domestic market. Due to these limitations, there is a growing deficit of 95,000 tons of meat per year including beef imports. There is a shortage of beef because local farmers face high cattle mortality rates, making locally grown beef more expensive than imported beef. Additionally, there are over a million people that live below the poverty line in Ghana that cannot afford meat products at all.
Recognizing that agriculture is the best industry to help reduce poverty and hunger, Kamal Yakub founded Farmable to help small farmers gain access to funds and a stable market for their products. Their vision is to support small holder farmers by giving them tools to fight hunger and create a sustainable food supply reducing Ghana’s reliance on imported beef or charities. Farmable has achieved this by creating an investment based crowd funding platform that connects smallholder cattle farmers with global online funders through three business units, Farmable Online, Farmable on the Ground and Ghana Beef Company. Farmable Online allows farmers to be invested in directly through the Internet, giving them more funding for their cow production. The website not only links the investors with farmers but allows customers to fund cows for farms through “crowdfarming.” Cows on the website that are successfully funded are designed on merchandise which is sold for further funding support. Farmable on the Ground is a field operation that works with partners like NGO’s and universities to improve the education and capacity of farmers and ensure the health of their cattle. The last is the Ghana Beef Company (GBC), which buys healthy cattle from the smallholder farmers at the best market rate. GBC then sells the cattle as beef into the domestic market. Together, these business units complement each other in the goal of bringing food security to communities in Ghana by increasing cattle production and funding.
The crowdfunding platform is inspired by Ghanian concept of Innooba, which means community help. Individuals work together to support the success of each other’s farms, creating a network of sharing and learning. Farmable’s unique “crowdfarming” concept is gaining attention; in 2015 Farmable was a finalist in the Seedstars World Start Up competition. Within the next ten years, Farmable seeks to have over 100,000 cattle within their database. Smallholder farmers have been receptive to the tools and technologies that Farmable has offered them. In August, Farmable helped to sell over 70 cows from farmer partners, earning almost $25,000 in funding. The platform that has been created has blended social networking with agriculture to combat food insecurity in Ghana. Farmable is not only strengthening smallholder farms but creating a more sustainable future for communities, ensuring that they will not go hungry.
Environmental Impact: Food security, sustainable agriculture
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