Productive Agricultural Linkages and Marketing Systems (P.A.L.M.S.)

Productive Agricultural Linkages and Marketing Systems (P.A.L.M.S.): Linking agricultural technologies effectively

Accra, GhanaAccra, Ghana
Year Founded:
2005
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Productive Agriculture Linkages and Marketing Systems (P.A.L.M.S.) program pools appropriate technologies and resources together to facilitate agricultural food chains with strengthened organizational capacities and linkages for sustainable production and marketing.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if women and the youth have access to mechanized implements and technology to reduce drudgery and time spent on the farm resulting in increased work done and reduction in time poverty.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Agricultural activity is carried out at the small scale level mainly by women who use obsolete and labour intensive methods which are unfriendly to the environment and yield poor dividends. Lack of access to mechanized equipment for agricultural processing, inadequate finance and knowledge of local and international marketing systems result in severe post-harvest losses, reducing efficiency and plunging them into deep poverty.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We use mechanized implements to reduce drudgery and time spent on the farm with increased returns. Drip irrigation equipment with solar pumps, organic fertilizers, nutrient management and integrated pest management, solar and hot air dryers all combine to increase their income tremendously and helps to produce acceptable products thereby reducing waste and energy spent. Proper farm management and use of ICT in marketing and distribution enables them to deliver their orders in a timely and appropriate fashion with the utilization of proper air-conditioned transportation modes. Women in our society are not given loans easily but we are able to secure finance, land and equipment for them by putting them into sustainable groups.

Awards

Ashoka and ExxonMobil Innovator 2010
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Excessive use of chemical agro products over the years has resulted in poor yields and degradation of farms lands for Dekaworwor Harborbor Women’s Group, a community based farmer group. With the introduction to sustainable agriculture by the PALMS team, the group has increased the yields of their vegetable produce three times the previous and now has access to tractors, power tillers and brush cutters, biomass and solar dryers for drying their produce thereby reducing post-harvest losses and quick access to local markets. Mary, the leader, is using gas stove for cooking instead of charcoal, thereby reducing by 75% the time spent previously. With the reduction in time poverty, she is able to engage in further fruitful business deals.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

300,000 farmers, of which 250,000 are women, from over 200 women and community based organizations in five regions of the country have been reached through 20 trained NGOs with the requisite training in the use of appropriate technologies. A 30% increase in the use of renewable energy especially solar by women in their agricultural endeavors with a corresponding 40% increase in the use of mechanized machinery and equipment by women is resulting in 10-300% increase in their incomes. A good carbon sink has been created with over 100,000 acres of moringa trees planted. A national policy on mechanized farming and irrigation has been established. Ancillary industries for plant growth hormones, organic fertilizers, biofuels, ethanol, animal feed, pharmaceutical raw materials, water purification and moringa based products are being planned in the next few years.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

2016 – 2020. Various demonstration farms and plant pools set up in all the 10 regions with production of organic disease suppressing compost, fertilizers and pesticides. Market based mobile telephony established and research and improvement of technologies and systems strengthened. 2021-2025. Production and distribution of tractors, solar dryers and other agricultural implements. Our Co-operative Finance Institute linked up with banks for equipment leasing. Proper air-conditioned distribution channels established. The program expected to be self-sustaining by the end of the tenth year.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

We are supported by grants and intend to make this program a for profit social venture working with grants/investment funds and earned revenue for the next two or three years before going fully with investment funds and earned revenue. Production and sale of mechanized equipment, hot air dying systems, drip irrigation equipment, biodiesel and biogas, agro products and services will form our main source of earned revenue to see us through.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Various programs are run by international and local NGOs and embassies to improve agriculture in the country. The Ministry of Food and Agriculture is equally involved with agricultural mechanization and all year production. Esoko is using mobile telephony to disseminate farm produce prices nationwide. We use a unique system of reaching out through the entire food value chains from nursery to the end markets with emphasis on natural agro products which none of the present systems do. This holistic commodity chain approach backed by appropriate technology is quite acceptable to the farmers.
Team

Founding Story

The resources needed by the micro, small and medium scale farmers or agricultural enterprises in the country to operate effectively are far beyond their reach. Women and the youth, who are in the majority in the agricultural sector, are thus moving away from this sector which has a lot of employment and financial potential if well utilized. Christian Volunteer Service International having been in the forefront in the advocacy for rural and small scale farmers to adopt proper farming techniques from the nursery to the markets saw the need to enter into partnerships to provide services to assist farmers to operate optimally using appropriate technologies. P.A. L.M.S. was thus evolved.

Team

Management Team (Part Time) - 1. Project Chairman - Joseph Brenyah, H.N.D (Ind. Chem.), Dip. (French), AA (Theology), Dip (Ind. Mgt.), Dip. (Project Mgt.); 2. Vice Project Chairman/Administrator - Leticia Brenyah – Bachelor of Education IT; 3. Project Secretary and Accounts Officer – Fatimatu Abdulai - H.N.D. (Accounting), Dip (Business Administration); 4. Accountant/Internal Auditor - Welbeck Nani - CA (Ghana) Chartered Accountant; 5. Agricultural Mechanization Officer – Patrick Banahene - B Sc. Hons. Agric. Mech.; 6. Nurseries and Crop Protection Officer – Jemima Djah - M. Phil, BSc. Crop Science; 7. Agribusiness Development Officer - Osman Issaka – BSc. Agric Econs.; 8. Food Value Chain Officer - Joana Aidoo – BSc. Agric Econs. ; 9. Consultant – Dr. Irene Egyir – PhD. Agric. Econs.; 10. Consultant - Dr. Lawrence Darkwah – PhD. Chemical Engineering. The management team works with various bodies in the development and adaptation of various technologies and equipment on part time basis whilst affiliated to CVSI and have access to a wide group of affiliates and partners for success of their innovations. Other professional volunteers in sociology, ICT, marketing and various disciplines are available through our NGO network to assist in linking up with our community base organizations and farmers on the ground to maintain an effective chain from the farms to the markets. Two agricultural departments of universities in Ghana: University of Ghana, Legon and Kumasi Nkrumah University of Science and Technology are with us and send interns and researchers to us regularly. Kumasi Polytechnic Institute is behind the development of various agricultural machinery prototypes. We intend to engage full time staff by next year as we move on strongly in the growth stage and get fully established and self-sustaining.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Changemakers Website

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

co-Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Gender Equality, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

Joseph Brenyah is an experienced administrator, clergyman and consultant of high standing in the industrial, mining, agricultural and social philanthropy/entrepreneur sectors, with training in management, industrial chemistry, French, theology, HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, small-scale industrial technologies and co-operatives. In the social entrepreneurship sector, he had been involved actively for the past twenty five years and had established four NGOs and four networks for agriculture/environment, health, advocacy, water and sanitation. He had headed many reputable companies in Nigeria and Ghana and is presently in charge of Christian Volunteer Service International (CVSI) , a non-governmental organization and Moringa Oleifera Farms and Industries Limited, a hybrid social enterprise/venture. Some current programs under his care include: Productive Agricultural Linkages and Market Systems (PALMS) and Affordable Nutrients/Technologies for Agricultural Breakthroughs programs. Between 2001 and 2003, he led CVSI and Afriyie-Brenyah Mines Limited to undertake bioremediation and restoration of polluted mining lands in four mining areas in the Western region. The degraded lands were restored and converted into cocoa farms and fish ponds. Over 100 micro-credit and co-operatives projects were established in Volta and Ashanti regions between 2003 and 2006. In 2006, the Ghana Malnutrition Annihilation Project (Ghana MAP) was launched and is solidly behind the malnutrition campaign using moringa. Under the previous government’s administration, the campaign received a boost with a governmental support of moringa in malnutrition.
Leticia Brenyah, the 33-year old daughter of Joseph Brenyah, a Bachelor in Technology degree holder (Information Technology), has been in the social philanthropy/entrepreneur sectors for the past fifteen years. She has been in charge of establishing and training of women in co-operatives and small scale ventures for poverty alleviation and sustainable agriculture. Her ardent quest for the use of simple technologies for the empowerment of women is at the heart of the full development of the PALMS program which she co-founded with her father. Her zeal has been the driving force for the success in the program as women and the youth enthusiastically embraced the scheme. The initial resistance has given way to calls for the establishment of plant pools, training programs and provision of mechanized gadgets for farming and food procession. Her popular motto is: “More machinery, more power to the women.” Drip irrigation has become accepted with good returns. The program has helped shaped the national policy of agricultural mechanization and all year round irrigation. Processing plants to produce the needed small scale gadgets is paramount to her. She plans to get girls and the youth fully involved in the growth stage of the PALMS project so that they can see farming and agribusiness as a viable option for employment and community industrialization. In addition to her present position as a Teacher in Elective and Core ICT with Ahantaman Senior High School, Takoradi from September 2009 to date, she is also in charge of Adepa Luxury Decor, a popular interior decoration company.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

At the idea stage, P.A.L.M.S. received technical support from the Support Programme for Enterprise Empowerment and Development (SPEED) Ghana, a USAID program. We gradually moved on supported by African Women Initiative for Development and Empowerment (AWIDE), a women empowerment NGO we established. By 2007, we received support and mentorship through a Google/Technoserve Ghana National Business Plan Competition to establish our first hybrid company: Moringa Oleifera Farms and Industries Limited. In 2010, ExxonMobil and Ashoka extended support to our main start-up stage with mentorship and a grant. Under that arrangement, Thunderbird School of Global Management sent a team of four MBA graduates to be with us for four months in 2011 to undertake a feasibility plan on our proposed biodiesel and renewable energy plan of MOFIL/PALMS and mentor us to successfully carry on the MOFIL hybrid program and other issues about PALMS. The Agricultural Mechanization Department of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has been mentoring us on the fabrication of various mechanized equipment and processes including sustainable food chains. In addition to that, we have co-operation with small scale machinery importers like Cottage Italia Industries Limited and other local equipment manufacturers to design and produce such locally. We are in close consultation with the University of Ghana, Legon and Kwame Nkrumah University of University of Science and Technology, Kumasi who send their students to us regularly on internships and mentorship issues. The large network of over 200 women groups and co-operatives are on hand to assist us to carry out programs and equally benefit from such.