Sector: Fonio (grain & flower)
Investment: Processing equipment, machinery and storage
Total estimated capital expenditure: 800k EUR
Investment type: Subordinated loan
Investment by Kampani: EUR 500k (for 7 years)
Disbursement: December 2022
During a trip to Ghana in April 2022, Kampani was introduced to Amaati at the HortiFresh Access to Finance Matchmaking and Learning Event in Accra. Kampani’s participation in this event was actively encouraged by our shareholder Rikolto.
Amaati is a social enterprise founded in 2014 by a Ghanaian woman entrepreneur, Salma Abdulai. It sources fonio – a small grained millet grown in West Africa – from more than 5500 smallholder farmers, most of whom are women, in Northern Ghana, where there are high levels of poverty and malnutrition. Amaati processes fonio into grains (70%) and flour (30%) and sells it under the brand DIM Fonio to wholesalers, hotels, restaurants, schools, and to local retailers who sell the product on to several million people throughout the country.
Amaati makes available land, seeds, and machinery to Ghanaian farmers for them to produce the crop. The company is then repaid in kind. Amaati also provides credits for inputs and high-quality training in areas covering good agricultural practice, climate-smart agriculture, regenerative agriculture, and post-harvest management, enabling smallholder farmers to increase yields and nurture the land they use.
Kampani’s investment will allow Amaati to scale up its activities by upgrading and increasing the capacity of its plant in Tamale, in Northern Ghana. The production line will be automated, meaning less manual handling of the product, which will in turn increase revenues and allow Amaati to reach more farmers. The goal is to reach and support an additional 10,000 smallholder farmers (80% women) over the next four years; to increase the production of fonio from 3.5 tons a day to 10 tons per day; and to increase the company’s storage capacity by 1000 tons.
THE SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Amaati’s mission is “to build sustainable communities through the use of Fonio, which nourishes the land, people and society”. Specifically, Amaati works closely with women in one of Ghana’s poorest regions. Ghanaian women make up half the country’s crop producers, but they often lack access to land, and have limited access to finance. They also often work as unpaid labour on land owned by men. Amaati’s goal is to help empower vulnerable Ghanaian women by facilitating access to land and providing them with sufficient training to become independent farmers themselves.
By addressing food security, the social impact extends well beyond supporting women smallholder farmers. Fonio is the oldest of Africa’s ancient grains and is highly nutritious and cheap. Since producers are not obliged to sell their entire harvest to Amaati, the company is targeting its operations in those areas of Ghana where food security is an issue.
Fonio is also an interesting crop from a climate change resilience point of view. Its short crop cycle enables two or even three harvests per year, and it can survive long periods of drought as well as heavy rains. It has no need for pesticides or fertilisers, and it also preserves the soil, as it is used as a cover crop to regenerate degraded land.
A meeting with some of the producers supported by Amaati outside Garu, North-Eastern Ghana.