Green Gold Social Enterprise is a company that is reviving a 56 years old 3000 ha. abandoned state farm into an integrated commercial Moringa plantation in Ghana. the company produces, process and market premium quality Moringa products and is employing 1000s of local and small scale farmers to provide food security and eradicate poverty
To combat malnutrition and alleviate poverty and poverty related issues in Ghana – one community at a time –
We envision to give all smallholder farmers in Ghana the opportunity to climb out of poverty through the cultivation of Moringa. We aim to be the biggest producer of locally made Moringa products in West Africa. Through using part of our profit for community development, we aim to make a lasting and sustainable impact on the entire community wherever we are active. It is our vision that Green Gold S.E. will inspire the formation of other economically viable social enterprises through leading by example.
In the next ten years, Green Gold S.E. aims to:
- increase the income of at least 10.000 farmers and their families beyond the poverty line
- create at least 300 direct jobs under fair wage conditions
- educate at least 10.000 women and 300 health professionals on how to use moringa as a fortifier to prevent and treat malnutrition
- provide at least 40 schools with enough Moringa to implement it as an integral part of their school feeding program
- assist at least 40 schools in improving their facilities, attracting teaching staff and decrease school drop-out rates
- provide at least 40 communities with clean water and improved sanitation in the next ten years
- assist at least 3 other social enterprises during the start-up phase
The idea of Green Gold Ghana is born out of an NGO called Drive Aid Ghana. Drive Aid Ghana was started in 2007 by Clement Matorwmasen and Femke Matorwmasen-Akkermans, a married couple with mixed cultural backgrounds. The activities of Drive Aid Ghana were focused on relieving the burden of malnutrition by promoting the local use of Moringa as a food supplement and schooling by providing after-school illiteracy programs for the youth in the rural North of Ghana.
Our experience running Drive Aid Ghana helped us to learn which projects and methods work and what not. The main problems we came across were two fold:
1) dependency on unreliable external funding to run projects, making it unsustainable
2) promotion of Moringa was only partially successful, with the main barrier that Moringa is not a cash crop in Ghana. This resulted in many farmers who were initially enthusiastic about the many usages of Moringa cutting down their trees because they did not generate an income for them.
This let to our conclusion that to make our activities more impactful, we need to make Moringa a cash crop and by creating a commercially viable business, we will create sustainable funding for our different projects in community development.
– AT LEAST 50% OF PROFITS WILL BE USED FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT-
By creating a fair-trade based industry around Moringa and using at least 50% of the profit for community development, we will have a measurable impact on local poverty reduction
How do we do that?
Phase I: establishment of a large-scale Moringa farm and local processing factory
This is the start-up phase, which we are currently in. We are transforming an old abandoned state-farm into a large-scale moringa farm. The community of Zongo Macheri in the northern part of the Volta Region, has donated 3000 hectares of land including the skeletons of several former farm buildings to establish the foundation of our company. Within the next three years we aim to plant at least 100 hectares of the land with Moringa. To do this we use a technique called ‘agro-forestry’ which means that we will allow the Moringa to grow into trees for optimal seed production and we intercrop with other edible crops (e.g. yam, soy, watermelon, sweet potatoes etc) which will be sold on the local market. This technique is hardly known with local farmers, but the combination of crops enhances local food security, optimizes land usage and through the unique qualities of Moringa will reduce degradation of the soil. Other farming activities which can be well combined with Moringa production are currently under exploration, an example of which is bee farming. Bees feed well from moringa flowers and in return the activity of the bees results in increased seed production, giving a mutual beneficial relationship.
In the creation of jobs, we give a strong preference to underprivileged groups, especially (single parent) women, unemployed youth and former prisoners.
As the trees will need time to grow and it takes about 4 years before Moringa gives optimal seed production, we will start with the production of leave based products first, including moringa powder, tea, capsules etc. In this phase, all profits will be reinvested to allow the farm to expand and develop a professional processing factory where we can produce more Moringa end-products for added value and enhanced development. Currently we have planted 25 acres.
Phase II: at least 50% of profit will be re-invested in community development
When the foundation of the company is well established and seed production will really take off, profits are expected to far exceed the amount needed for re-investment. AT LEAST 50% of these profits will directly benefit local communities by investing the money in three fields that we think are essential for development:
this will include nutritional programs like school-feeding programs using moringa and other locally grown crops, health education and prevention programs, support of local clinics, research on Moringa etc.
- Education: this will include support of local schools (infrastructure and staff development), scholarships for local youth especially in professional fields of which there is a shortage in the local community, establishment of local high-quality vocational schools and others.
- Support of other sustainable economic sectors: this will include support in enhancing eco-tourism and start-up grants for other social enterprises
These projects will be run under the auspices of the Green Gold Ghana Foundation.
We have a holistic view on community development. We believe that just the creation of jobs or only focusing on health is simply not enough to have a real impact on poverty reduction.
We strongly believe that the only sustainable basis for community development lies in (at least partial) for-profit private entrepreneurship. Too often we have seen NGO’s, both foreign and local, come in with grand ideas and promises to make a change. But experience has taught us that most projects collapse due to lack of ownership by the local community, short-term thinking, inconsistent funding and even corruption. Our business model gives an alternative and better solution.
Do you know that when you make a donation of USD 100 to an average NGO (good cause) 60 USD is used for administration and only 40 USD will actually benefit the project you intended it for?
Do you know that when you invest USD 100 in our social enterprise now to help us expand, will result in USD 500 being invested in community development projects in 2021? That is a FIVE-FOLD of your one-time investment EACH YEAR! ( support us)
Phase III: inclusion of local small-scale farmers
At this stage we will have both the financial resources and the clientele to be able to involve local farmers in Moringa production and guarantee buyers for their seeds. This will be achieved by establishing relationships with existing farmers’ cooperations. By teaching local small-scale farmers the technique of intercropping, Moringa can serve as a source of extra income and can serve as a natural soil enhancer, bringing arid soils back to life.
Currently small-scale farmers do not see Moringa as a cash crop. Although some have experienced the many qualities of the plant, the interest to commercially grow it is very low because there is not yet a local market for it in the rural areas and outside demand for seeds is irregular and unreliable. By guaranteeing a fixed price for the seeds, we intend that the leave products will be used locally for both human and animal feeding and as an organic fertilizer.
- Fair Trade: our employees will earn fair wages which should be at least 20% above local average for similar employment and have fair conditions of service including social welfare.
- Transparency: we aim to be fully transparent in terms of our goals, means, finances etc. not only to our customers but also to our employees
- Sustainability: this means that we will strive to limit our environmental footprint as much as possible and if possible improve the ecologic environment. It also entails that the company needs to be commercially viable and not be reliant on donor funding or subsidies
- Social: in all our actions our social responsibility to the community should be visible. We aim to employ especially those groups of people who are most in need, including (single) women and unemployed youth
- Sharing: we will share our knowledge and expertise on Moringa farming and social entrepreneurship actively with all interested parties.
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