Ghana at Fifty Secretariat- established by the government of Ghana to celebrate the fiftieth independence anniversary contracted Richie Plantations Ltd. to nurse six million fruit species, primary tree species and exotic species.
Richard E. Quansah, Chief Executive Officer Plantation Avenue P. O. Box CT 6417
Kwabenya- Accra, Telephone: +233244101820 Email:Richieplantations@yahoo.com
INDEPENDENT REPORT ON THE LAUNCH OF THE SADA MANGO PROJECT IN THE NORTHERN VOLTA REGION OF GHANA
DATE OF LAUNCHING: 18TH OF JUNE, 2013
THEME: LEVERAGING FARM FAMILIES THROUGH THE PRIVATE SECTOR
BENEFICIARY DISTRICTS: KRACHI WEST, KRACHI EAST, KRACHI NCHUMURU, NKWANTA SOUTH AND NKWANTA NORTH.
8TH JULY, 2013 Report on the launch of the SADA Mango Project at Kete-Krachi on the 18th of June, 2013.
1. Executive summary The Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) in conjunction with Richie Plantations Ltd (RPL) is collaborating effectively to ensure a successful implementation of the Mango Project to leverage a vast majority of farm families (mostly peasants) in the Krachi West, Krachi East, Krachi Nchumuru, Nkwanta South and Nkwanta North Districts of the Northern Volta. The objective is to provide sustainable incomes for poor households through the development of mango farms in selected communities in the target areas. RICHIE Plantations Ltd has risen over 150,000 mango seedlings for distribution to specific districts indicated and support farmers to plough, plant and grow these into mango plantations. The long-term idea of RICHIE Plantations Limited is to purchase all mangoes produced in the catchment area for processing, packaging and marketing; thereby providing sustainable market opportunities for the Mango Growers in the target communities; thereby contributing employment among the youth and women and also promoting the local economy. This project will also contribute to the “greening of the north” agenda of SADA and contribute towards good environmental practices.
Project Update: Due to some land tenure issues within the Nkwanta North District, the programme has been delayed in this area until all issues relating to land ownership has been resolved. Immediately those issues are addressed, the programme would be implemented in that District. The project has already achieved some positive results. RPL has successfully raised two (2) world class Mango Nurseries at Kete-Krachi and Nkwanta. With effective community sensitization programmes, five hundred and over (500+) farm families have been registered to take part in the programme for the first year of operations. Since this is a four –year programme, we hope the experiences and lessons gathered in our first year of the programme would be used to improve on the project details for the subsequent years. The following table indicates the number of farmers registered and hectares under consideration in the 2013 year:
Comments by farmers’ representatives
Mr. Collins Ahenkora (Tokurano): He praised the Government for bringing such a laudable project to the people of the area. On behalf of the farmers, he appealed to SADA to assist them with the timeous release of project inputs to enable them get the benefit of planting on time; in view of the peculiar weather conditions of the area. In terms of support, Mr. Ahenkora Collins indicated that SADA could do better. He was, however, full of praise for the effort RPL (as a Service Provider) was putting in to make the project a success. Mr. Kwame Ahenkora (BLINDMAN)
He is one of the very few physically-challenged who are partaking in this programme. He made a special appeal to SADA to consider offering them special incentives to enable them engage people who could work on their plantations on their behalf, since they (ie the physically-challenged) would find it difficult to till the land by themselves. He was also grateful that inspite of their predicament, SADA was interested in improving their welfare through such livelihood programmes
Sustainable FARMING - ENABLING THE FARMERS
Richie Plantations Limited
AngloGold Ashanti, one of the world’s foremost gold exploration, mining and marketing companies, holds a portfolio of operations and projects on four continents, and has a worldwide exploration programme. They work across the full spectrum of the mining value chain, and are concerned with the impact of their activities on the diverse communities and environments in which they operate. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, AngloGold Ashanti has 23 operations in 11 countries. Since 2005, Richie Plantations Ltd has nursed and produced one million five hundred and sixty thousand (1,560,000) seedlings of mahogany, wawa, emere, ofram, and jethropha to restore environment.
The Forestry Commission of Ghana is responsible for the regulation of utilization of forest and wildlife resources, the conservation and management of those resources and the coordination of policies related to them. The Commission embodies the various public bodies and agencies that were individually implementing the functions of protection, management, the regulation of forest and wildlife resources. These agencies currently form the divisions of the Commission: Forest Services Division; Wildlife Division; Timber Industry Development Division; Wood Industries Training Centre; Resource Management Support Centre. Richie Plantations Ltd has nursed and produced five million (5,000,000) exotic seeds for the Forestry Services Division between 2005 and 2006.
Minerals Commission– a body set up to formulate recommendations of national policy for exploitation of mineral resources with special reference to establishing national priorities having due regard to the national economy. Richie Plantations Ltd. since 2007 has nursed one million one hundred thousand seedlings of oil palm to farmers for cultivation.
Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) is a government policy initiative aimed at addressing the development gap that exists between Northern and Southern Ghana. SADA’s mandate is to accelerate the socio-economic development of the Savannah belt through strategic investment in resource development. It envisions a “Forested North” by 2030 where agricultural production is modernized and oriented towards a larger market.
The SADA initiative has six unique pillars which include the following: development of a comprehensive regional & ecological strategy; a model for the modernization of agriculture; development of strategic infrastructure; strong linkage between Northern Savannah and the Sahelian countries; a vigorous private sector initiative that strengthens existing private operators; and active support for Civil Society Organizations and NGOs. SADA is a body mandated by law to develop strategies for the accelerated development of the Northern, Upper East and West Regions, Northern Volta and Northern Brong Ahafo Regions, facilitate Agricultural and infrastructural development and provide the enabling environment and input support to private sector investors to the Northern Savannah Ecological Zone. Richie Plantations Limited has nursed and produced over One hundred and Fifty Thousand mango seedlings to farmers in the Northern Volta Region for cultivation.
From the table above, as at the end of June 2013, almost 631 hectares of land have been cleared. Out of these over 423 hectares have been ploughed (within a 30-day period). Almost all ploughed farmlands have been lined and pegged. A total of 403 hectares have so far been supplied with seedlings and planted. Majority of them planted their seedlings, all within the month of June, 2013. The number of farmers registered indicates that 15% are females and 85% males on average.
The major strategic focus of SADA is to encourage more women to benefit from the project as well. However, the cultural setting in this area is that the men, being heads of their families, do not allow the women to be at the forefront when it comes to land tenure issues, hence the large proportion of males. Work is still progressing steadily. We have been able to convince a lot of the traditional authorities in the operational areas to release and commit vast areas of land for the Mango Cultivation. Two (2) of such communities (Krachi Kadentwe community and Dadekoro) have released lands already. . These two communities alone are contributing over 400 (four hundred) acres (or 160 hectares) of land for cultivation.
We hope that with continued support from Government/SADA, RPL would deliver on its mandate to change the livelihoods and income levels of beneficiaries and remove many people in the NSEZ out of the poverty trap.
Launch of the Project: The successful launch of the programme was done on the 18th of June, 2013 at Kete-Krachi by the Volta Regional Minister (HON. AFOTEY-AGBO), assisted by the Chief Executive Officer, and the Board of SADA. In attendance were notable Chiefs of the Krachi Traditional Area, the media, SADA representatives and staff; District Chief Executives of the target Districts; farmers and beneficiaries of the project. Pictures of the Launch of the project
Comments by farmers’ representatives
NANA ALEX GYINGYI (Farmer)
He is a 90-year old Farmer who has shown great enthusiasm in the Mango Project. He advised the youth to take advantage of such useful empowerment programmes whenever they are introduced. He was very happy and grateful to RPL for offering him the chance to take part in the programme in spite of his advanced age. He also appealed to SADA to ensure the timeous release of project inputs (through the Service Providers) so as to enable them keep within acceptable time periods for planting. NANA ABORA II He was the Chairman for the launch. He was so impressed with what he saw at the Nursery and recommended to SADA to offer all necessary assistance to RPL to enable it to perform; and to continue to offer employment to the youth of the area
NANA DASEBRE BONJA II He is the Chief of Borae II; and also the Chairman of the Borae II/ SADA Mango Farmers Association (one of the FBOs). He was so fascinated by what he saw at the Nursery and promised that he would consult with all his colleague Chiefs to consider releasing lands en-bloc for the youth to use for such a laudable project. He also appealed for more assistance to be extended to Richie Plantations Ltd to enable it to perform. The dignitaries present at the launch were all impressed with the project and gave very good accounts of what they saw. Together with the Regional Minister and the Chiefs present, they visited some selected farms which had been cultivated (we would provide SADA with pictorial evidence and post it on the net in our main June 2013 report). What they saw on the fields convinced them that PUBLIC- PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP (PPP) in any venture would be the way forward for any successful venture that Government would like to embark on in future; especially if it concerned Alternative Livelihood Programmes.
CHALLENGES: Some key challenges encountered during this reporting period are: a) Late releases of Mobilizations to enable RPL to tackle all phases of the project on schedule. For instance, it has not been easy at all paying staff every month, fuelling and maintaining all our vehicles, machinery and equipment, continuing with community sensitization efforts to get our beneficiary farmers to fully understand the ultimate benefits that they stand to gain in future; and to maintain the two (2) Nurseries at Krachi and Nkwanta. The late release of funds has affected the programme since we had to look for and borrow resources with high interest rates to ensure we execute activities according to planned timelines. b) Weather pattern: In view of the long spell of the dry season in the operational areas, most of the outfield activities were unduly delayed (e.g. ploughing and planting). c) Road networks: This has been one of the challenges that we have faced in commuting between communities. There are many areas where only tractors and motorbikes could access, even with difficulty.
d) Communication: Most of the areas cannot be reached via mobile telephony in view of the absence of the networks. One can only reach them by moving vehicles to those areas. e) Boreholes: Even though the mapping out was done, actual drilling was delayed. More so, the number of boreholes for the project is grossly inadequate as many farm families cannot benefit from it. LESSONS: Using FM Radio communication: We have learnt that in future we can get access to most of our beneficiary farmers very easily through the means of FM radio. This is what the project will employ in subsequent years. Nursing of Mango Seedlings: We also learnt that the mango seeds are available during specific times of the year. Hence we have put in place mechanisms to ensure the continuous availability of seedlings to service our farmers, over the next four years of the project irrespective of the season. Community-based ownership of lands: We have also realized that it is more economical for the communities to acquire lands as bloc, and not to operate on individual basis. The example shown by the Kadentwe Community and Dadekoro in the Krachi West District is worth emulating by all communities. But that would mean that heavy machinery (like bull-dozers) would have to be mobilized on such lands to make land-clearing very easy.
NEXT STEPS/ WAY FORWARD: Timely Releases of Mobilization: We would very much appreciate if SADA would ensure timely releases of mobilization to enable RPL fulfill its mandate of partnering Government to leverage peasant farm families within the Northern Volta on this innovative project. Women And The Physically-Challenged: To get more women and the physically-challenged to partake in the project, we would improve on our educational and community sensitization effort to ensure that more women and persons with disability benefit from this project. Number of boreholes: We would appreciate it if SADA could consider the number of boreholes being drilled for the use of the farmers. It is recommended that for every 5 hectares of land, one (1) borehole could be drilled to improve the accessibility. Currently a lot more farmers cannot access water easily in view of the distances between their plots of land and the location of boreholes. This will even become a major challenge once the dry season sets in. Provision of watering cans: It is recommended that, in view of the above scenario, each beneficiary farmer is provided with two (2) plastic watering cans to enable them to water their mango plants especially during the off-rainy periods. Monitoring of project activities: To ensure effective monitoring of the Project, and given the terrain and vastness of the area, SADA could assist RPL to procure a 4-wheel drive Pick-up (which could be jointly owned by the two entities). CONCLUSION We would like to re-iterate our call to SADA to expedite action on mobilizing RPL sufficiently to enable us carry on with the good work that we are doing. It has not been easy at all paying our staff every month, fuelling and maintaining all our vehicles, machinery and equipment, continuing with community sensitization efforts to get our beneficiary farmers to fully understand the ultimate benefits that they stand to gain in future and also to maintain the two (2) Nurseries (at Krachi and Nkwanta). Currently, supply of seedlings for planting, ploughing, lining and pegging etc. are all taking place simultaneously. Effective monitoring will be done by RPL with both qualitative and quantitative data. We hope SADA would take all our concerns on board and keep us alive. LONG LIVE SADA, LONG LIVE RICHIE PLANTATIONS LTD
Below is a summary of the speeches made by the dignitaries during the launch:
Volta Regional Minister (Hon. Afotey-Agbo): The Hon. Regional Minister re-iterated the Government’s determination to improve on the lives of ordinary people of Ghana through human-centered programmes such as those being undertaken by SADA/RICHIE Plantations; especially the Mango Project. He indicated his preparedness to support this programme to its logical conclusion once he remained as the Regional Minister. His impression about the whole project is quoted in the text below. “I am impressed with what I have witnessed today in Krachi, and I have the hope and confidence that in the near future the Community (KRACHI) will be an eye of the Northern part of Volta
Chief Executive Officer of SADA (Alhaji G. S. Iddi) His speech highlighted the effective and fruitful collaboration between SADA and RPL, and wished that all Service Providers working for and on behalf of SADA could emulate the example shown by RPL, especially its indefatigable Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Richard Ekow Quansah who has worked tirelessly to nurture the relationship to an enviable one. He was optimistic that, with what he had witnessed, the future looked bright for the people of Northern Volta. His final remark is also quoted in the text below: “A very good job done! Keep it up!”
District Chief Executive –Krachi West (Hon.K. Ponye) He was highly elated to have had such a project within his district. He appealed for more assistance to be offered to RPL to enable it to continue to offer both direct and indirect employment to the youth of the area. He also encouraged his own people to take advantage of this opportunity to better their lives and living conditions. He also appealed to SADA to consider rolling out alternative livelihood programmes (apart from Mango Cultivation) to enable more people to improve their well-being, including the physically challenged.
Administrative Manager of RPL (Mr. Kingsley Antobam) On behalf of RPL, he praised the effective symbiotic relationship that is existing between them and SADA; and hoped that this will continue to inure to the benefits of the broad masses of people within their areas of operation. He used the opportunity to outline other plantation projects that RPL was engaged in. He was emphatic that their company could be trusted and counted upon to deliver any venture that would be entrusted to it. However, he bemoaned the lack of substantial mobilization of resources to enable RPL perform to its optimum; and hoped SADA would come to their aid. He promised that RPL would want to make the Mango project in Northern Volta the Flagship project of all similar ones that SADA was engaged in, provided all needed support was extended to it
Richie Plantations and Appiah Consulting Team International are Social Businesses with sustainable profit. Executing the business fundamentals for better bottom line. Empowering Farmers and their families. Committed to the farmers - Responsible to Shareholders - Loyal to each other - Pride & Integrity in all we do
Richie Plantations Ltd was incorporated in accordance with the Companies Code of Ghana (ACT 176 : 1963) on the 28th of FEBRUARY 2005. The company’s headquarters is at Kwabenya in Accra with several active production field outlets currently located at: Agona Swedru, Dunkwa / Ayanfuri in the Central Region, Kete Krachi in the West Krachi District, Dambai in East Krachi District, Chindere in Krachi Nchumuru District, Kpasa in the Nkwanta North District and Nkwanta in the Nkwanta South District all in the Volta Region. The Company has previously worked on special projects like Ghana @50 and Minerals Commission’s Alternative Livelihood program for the Mining Communities etc in various parts of the country, namely Abofour and Obuasi in the Ashanti Region; Kintampo, Jema and Nante in the Brong Ahafo Region; Amoana –Huni Valley in the Western Region.
The company’s registered office is also in Accra and its business address is P.O.Box CT 6417, Cantonment, Accra. The majority shareholder of Richie Plantations Ltd. is Mr. Richard Ekow Quansah, a Ghanaian-born, German-trained, "Green" Entrepreneur & Agronomist with more than 20 years business experience. The initial decision to form Richie Plantations Ltd. was taken by Mr. Quansah in the year 2000, as a result of market assessment and identification of the fact that reforestation is absolutely critical to the future of the Ghanaian economy and the eco-system.
Mr. Quansah thus decided to introduce, develop and promote reforestation through his company, Richie Plantations Ltd. In fact, the inexpressibly urgent need for reforestation in Ghana and several other Sub-Saharan African nations virtually guarantees that this organization should neither run out of markets or clients in the next fifty years. This should also ensure continued high demand, good profits and a continuous flow of revenue for the operation of the company. Thus, its primary short term target will be to ensure that at least half of the population (24 million people) and communities of Ghana have access to Richie Plantations Ltd. services and products.
Mr. Quansah further sees this venture as a key means of providing long-term employment to local residents and economic benefits to various regions. In effect, Mr. Quansah is a committed and patriotic Ghanaian professional who views this as an excellent opportunity to make a major impact and a positive contribution towards the continued improvement and development of Ghanaians and ultimately the West African Society. In addition, our recent experience in the raising of high quality hybrid oil palm seedlings for the Government of Ghana which is represented by the Minerals Commission for its pilot alternative livelihood program in the Wassa areas covering five (5) mining communities viz, Nsuta Mbease, Himan, Bogoso, Awodua and Huni Valley.
The program has produced 1,240,000 oil palm seedlings and the development of 20,629 hectares of oil palm plantations and direct registration of 2,478 individuals’ farmers. This has generated additional employment of 12,390 in these mining communities. This has led to the establishment of a modern Oil Mill factory at Mpowa in the western region by B-Bovid (Building Business on Values Integrity and Dignity)-a Ghanaian Agro business Company promoting a new model of socially-inclusive commercial farming, which combines innovative agricultural practices and ecological farming. This Company has signed an agreement with Richie Plantations to supply Palm fruits to feed the Oil Mill Factory. Richie Plantations plan to perform its part of the contract through purchasing Palm fruit Bunches from various Oil palm farmers in the area and beyond. In addition to this experience, Richie Plantations Ltd. partnered with Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and has developed 150,000 mango seedlings which have been transplanted to farms owned by farmer based organizations in the Nkwanta and Krachi and Nchumuru Districts of the Volta Region. This is a social mission with business sense to yield smart profits as illustrated below.