Nyame akwan

Nyame Akwan, oranges, Ghana (producer)

Citrus farming is a growing source of income in Ghana but farmers face many difficulties including scattered production units, poor road networks, illegal mining and the threat of a fungal disease called Citrus Black Spot. However, climate change continues to be the biggest challenge, with fruit ripening early or crops being lost in their entirety due to the changing rainfall patterns in the Ashanti region.

Nyame Akwan is a Fairtrade orange producer that is surviving commercially, despite these various setbacks. Founded in 1997, they work with over 100 farmers in Kumasi to grow two types of oranges – Late Valencia and Ortanique. As with other citrus producers in the region, 100% of their production is then sold to a local processor for export. In Nyame Akwan’s case, a local exporter ships its produce to the main buyer in Europe. This buyer subsequently pays the Fairtrade Premium directly to Nyame Akwan.

General Secretary, Anthony Asafo-Adjei, said:

“Unfavourable weather conditions continue to affect our production levels but we have been receiving support from the Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture to provide training to farmers on how to manage the situation. Luckily this season, the weather also improved, and so production has increased.”

A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR ORANGE PRODUCERS

Nyame Akwan approached Shared Interest for finance in 2015. At that time, fruit flies had been causing production losses of up to 40%. Despite this, the loan allowed them to purchase fertilisers for farmers and ultimately increased production volumes. Farm maintenance equipment was also bought for the farms which helped reduce fruit loss to only 10%. 

Education also helped improve yields. Previously, harvesting was mostly done by manually plucking the fruit with sticks, which led to spoilage when it landed on the ground. After training, the farmers began to hang wire nets under the trees to catch the oranges. Considering that orange trees do not bear fruit for the first four years, then only produce fruit twice a year, it is vital that wastage stays at a minimum.

Chairman, Mustapha Abubakar said: 

“Our hope for the future is to use more machinery, as our work requires a lot of manpower at the moment. We would also like to buy a truck to transport the fruit from members’ farms. Once our membership reaches 200, we would also like to become a co-operative.”

Read more about Nyame Akwan in QR 105.

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