‘Farmers toil in the hot sun, day in and day out, but often earn very little in terms of financial benefit. The current situation is no longer sustainable- our approach is that when it comes to agriculture, everybody within the value chain should be a winner.”
That is the principle that drives Issah Ouedraogo to engage smallholder farmers who work on several acres of farmlands cultivating rubber, vegetables, fruits, and rearing cattle, pigs and other farm animals at the B- BOBID farms in the Western Region.
The B- BOVID/TRACTOR is a twin initiative which demonstrates that agriculture is not a punishment or sign of poverty as perceived by the youth.
“I see my Job as closing the gap between theory and practice as far as poverty reduction is concerned” Issah Ouedraogo told Joy FM’s Kwaku Owusu Peprah.
For Issah Ouedraogo, profit sharing is an essential part of what he is aiming to do. He is convinced that agriculture has huge potential to reduce poverty.
“If we can better reward the farmers who supply us with raw materials then that contributes to improving their livelihoods and that of their communities too. That is truly poverty reduction, empowerment and sustainable agriculture,” he emphasized.
The 2012 UN Social Investment Pioneer award winner, Issah Ouedraogo funded B-BOVID in 2004 and developed it as an agribusiness based on social entrepreneurship principles, which has introduced a unique profit-sharing concept to its oil palm enterprise which, greatly benefit local farmers and their communities.
The company's palm oil and kernel mill – employs the latest technology from Malaysia (the world's top oil palm producing country) and SAM-EN-TEC (a Ghanaian Oil Mil Engineering Body).
Farmers who sell their palm fruit to B-BOVID receive an end of year bonus from the business in addition to the market price for their produce. The bonus is paid out of the profit made by the palm oil mill, based on the profit and the quantity supplied by a farmer to the company in that financial year.
GARDEN OF EDEN
It is not called the Garden of Eden because Adam and Eve lived there. But it is so called because of the community of fruits and assorted food crops in the 20 hectare farm.
The fruits are grown without fertilizer and managed under climate smart agricultural practices.
“The garden of Eden is a beautiful Eco garden which is now opened for educational agro –tourism to organizations, schools, farmer groups and any other visitors.” Issah Oeudrago added.
He said visitors can eat as much as they wish at the Garden of Eden without taking any fruit out of the farm.
Hectare by hectare, the Garden of Eden is a paradise. A magical place, where children from schools in the Western and Central regions visit to connect with nature and learn how some of their favorite fruits are cultivated.
These 112 hectares of farmlands features a demonstration farm showcasing animal husbandry, aquaculture as well as vegetable production techniques. The organization also runs a well-equipped agricultural mechanization centre, the only one in the Western Region.
Issah showed Joy News reporter Kwaku Owusu Peprah during a visit to the farm how the rate of unemployment in the country could be reduced if the youth would take up agriculture as a source of livelihood.
The livelihood center has four different fish ponds with about 40,000 live fish stock mainly tilapia and cat fishes.
Issah Ouedraogo, pointed out that the youth can be taught pig production poultry, (geese, guinea fowl, and turkey, chicken, duck etc.) Snail, mushroom, grass-cutter production, rabbit production, ruminant’s production etc, at the livelihood center as an effective means of job creation for the Ghanaian youth.
ICT CENTER FOR AGRICULTURE
In the wake of the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in addressing the challenges of small scale farmers and improving the livelihood of the rural poor, As a Ghanaian agro-business that is promoting a new model of social inclusive commercial farming, has opened modern ICT centre where small scale farmers and the youth would be trained and supported to use ICT to improve productivity.
The centre will support small scale farmers to improve their production, access the market and create a platform for knowledge and information sharing. In addition, it would assist in building their capacity, reduce social isolation and make agriculture a more efficient and prosperous venture.
Mr. Issa Ouedraogo, the Chief Executive Officer of B-BOVID, pointed out that agriculture remains central to the Ghanaian economy, adding that growth in the agricultural sector is twice as effective as reducing poverty as growth in other sectors.
“B-BOVID Limited is a relatively new transformational agro-industrial company that is promoting a new model of social inclusive commercial farming, which combines innovative agricultural practices, ecological farming and social entrepreneurship to deliver high-quality organic products, conserve the environment, promote sustainable lifestyles, create jobs as well as reduce poverty in the rural areas,” he explained.
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