Yiri Farms

Yiri Farms: All Year round farming in Sub saharan Africa

Tamale-kumbungu, GhanaTamale-kumbungu , Ghana
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$250,000 - $500,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

To promote and implement sustainable agricultural practices in the district,
Providing a conducive environment for smaller holder farmers in the district that are out of during the dry season the chance to farm within our nucleus farm equipped with irrigation which enables all year farming.

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

WHAT IF farmers in the northern part of Ghana could still farm during the 6 months of dry season in the north ?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

To Improve food security for the inhabitants of Kumbungu district, The problem of soil infertility & single season farming must be addressed.According to Ghana statistical service. Kumbungu has a population of 39,000 people with 87% of the working population engaging in farming as a primary source for their livelihoods. Poor yields due to poor soil infertility and single season farming make it difficult for farmers to have improved livelihoods.

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

Our current ability to cultivate some crops during the dry season on a small scale has enabled to increase our farm business income annually because we are producing crops throughout the year as well as getting top tier prices for our produce as most in the sub-region are not cultivating crops. Hence there is scarcity of food produce. More investments into irrigation, fencing and sustainable farming methods including soil fertility management, will enable us to provide a conducive environment for over 150 smaller holder farmers in the district who are out of work during 6 months dry season an opportunity to keep farming throughout the year regardless of season,. This will go along to improving small holder incomes in the district.

Awards

Best Vegetable farm in the district from ministry of food and agric
Impact: How does it Work

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

5 of our full-time farmers on Yiri Farms used to be small holders whose main and only source income was the money the got for the sale of crops they cultivated during the raining season. They would wait for the next six months before engaging in farming again because during the dry season there wasn’t access to a form of irrigation a small holder farmer could afford. the problem of roaming farm animals during the season puts unfenced crop farms at high risk. Capital outlay for a strong fence is also unattainable for a small holder farmer in the District. We have able to secure some investments from private individuals to fence some acres and irrigate 10 acres of land. The engaged farmers have a stable source of income throughout the year.

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

Besides the 5 farmers that we have engaged on a more permanent basis. We have close to 25 other temporal workers including women groups in the district as well other farmers that we engage as and when we need to supplement work being done by our permanent farmers. This goes along way to improving the livelihoods and uplifts the incomes of the workforce we engage and at large their dependents. The opportunity to sensitize and demonstrate the importance, effects and need for sustainable climate focused agricultural practices in improving the farm biodiversity and enhancing ecosystem resilience. We hope to be a model farm that small holders farmers in the district can look at as an example of a farm that is utilising sustainable practices that work in improving crop yields, contributing towards the mitigation of the green house gases released into the atmosphere through agriculture.

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

Yiri farms has to profitable enough on its own after capital injection to enable it expand. Our ability to be sustainable on internally generated income is crucial in achieving our goals of engaging as many smallholder farmers as possible during the dry season, as well sensitizing them on the importance of climate focused sustainable agriculture in improving soil fertility problems facing most farmers in the north. Within the next two years we intend to engage over 150 smallholder farmers on a permanent basis Within our nucleus farm. And 200 outgrowers that we support with training.
Sustainability

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

Considering we are still in our startup phase and haven't as yet turned a profit, our operational cost is currently being sustained through self-funding & an investment loan from an individual. Soon enough we will break even and start to pay off our investment loans .This will then enable us to start investing the internally generated funds back into the farm towards the expansion of facilities like Irrigation and fencing.

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

The absence of dry season farming, Our competitors who are the smallholders are out of work during this period and are our target in terms of people who hope to impact with our initiative. Our ability to possibly supply certain cash crops throughout the year has caught the attention of certain distribution companies that want to partner and enter into agreements to supply them all year round. The demand can't be met alone, therefore, we will have the opportunity of creating out grower system that will benefit smallholders in the district. This will go a long way to improving farmer incomes
Team

Founding Story

In September 2014, my partner & I spoke about the challenges and underutilized opportunities that are in the farming sector. As a country, we import more food than we grow. 90% of the foods we import can be grown here in Ghana. We realized that a big challenge facing the agriculture sector was the inability larger scale farms or farm business to do all year round farming. We set up Yiri farms to come up with common sense solutions to address this problem. On my first trip to northern part of Ghana, I was astounded at how farming came practically to a standstill during the dry season. We started pilot projects to ascertain the possibility of farming within this period. Results were positive.

Team

We currently have 7 full-time workers including My partner and I. I am Yayra Dumenu, the General Manager, does the day-to-day administration and running of the Farm. Mousah Iddirisu Abu my partner a geomatic engineer is the Operations and Project manager with the responsibility of direct implementation of all company projects. All decisions are implemented, monitored and evaluated by the management team with the help of technical experts from Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Ghana, Biotech and crop science department of the University of Ghana and Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA). The other 5 full time workers are the smallholder farmers we have engaged.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

Through Facebook

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, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Climate Action.

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

I setup a honey and shea butter company where we packaged and supplied to supermarkets and shops. I came up with the idea of doing this after I did a market survey and realized that most in the honey and shear butter did not put any effort into decent packaging of honey and shea butter.

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

West Africa Centre For crop improvement (WACCI)
Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
Crop Science department of the University of Ghana.
Agroforestry experts in the North.
Seasoned mixed farmers in the north .