Aduna is building a smallholder supply chain in Upper East Ghana, one of Africa’s most poverty-stricken regions, to empower women producers to harvest and process their baobab fruits. We are already working with 700 women from 13 communities who are benefiting from regular income flows. Here is the story of just one of these women.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD?
I have eight dependents in my household to look after as well as my husband and myself. We have five children aged 4, 8, 12, 15 and 18 years and we also look after my husbands’ three other children whose mother has passed away. We live in Nakolo Kaporania community where there are lots of baobab trees.
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE BEFORE YOU STARTED WORKING WITH ADUNA?
We have five months rain and 7 months dry. In the wet season I farm guinea, ground nuts and rice but in the dry season there is nothing to do. I collect fuel wood to earn some income but it doesn’t pay. Some months of the dry season to find money I travel South to find paid work, which is very hard as I have to be away from my children.
When I head south I farm vegetables which most of time there is no market for, or I sell food produce or help other market women. I receive money but not much money and when I am not home it is very challenging for my family. I was earning about GHS 60 (£12) a year.
The poor income and me being in the field all the day – or in the South- means it was a very challenging situation for the entire family to bed fed, clothed, washed and send the children to school especially during the 7 months dry period.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE NOW YOU ARE PART OF THE ADUNA SUPPLY CHAIN?
I have been participating in Aduna Baobab’s project for a year and a half. I no longer travel south to find work so I can stay with my children during the seven month dry season.
I have earned GHS 582 (£109) from the Aduna Baobab work so far. I have bought farm inputs through the income which has helped us increase our farm size from 2 acres to 8 acres and we now produce 7 bags of ground nuts rather than 5 bags as well as 4 bags of rice.
The income helps me cope with food shortages since I spend part of it on food for my family. Now, me and my family have food to eat three times daily. We used to struggle to get one square meal a day.