February 21, 2018

Financing Brings Food Security into Focus and Hope to Young Female Would-Be Migrants

Braimah Shaibu looked around his rural community of Nasia and saw two things:  a struggling cottage industry of rice producers, and young women fleeing the poverty stricken area to find menial jobs in Ghana’s urban centers.  As a former micro credit officer with a local non-governmental organization, Shaibu wanted a different view.  He knew that with determination, business acumen, and financial backing, he could strengthen Nasia’s rice production and equip the local youth with employable skills to earn a living and prosper in their own community.

In 2013, Shaibu launched Tamanaa Company Limited to process and market Nasia Star rice, with the ultimate goal of increasing income levels and enhancing food security in the West Mampruisi District of Ghana’s Northern Region.  Partial funding for Tamanaa’s rice milling center, a modernized 20-metric ton per day operation, could only bring the region’s rice sector so far.  Further funding acquired with the help of USAID Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID FinGAP), established to facilitate financing and investment in maize, rice, and soy in the north of Ghana, laid the foundation for thriving rice supply and value chains.

“Tamanaa has made the rice business attractive to the community by offering employment, ready market, and competitive prices for rice produced by our outgrowers and aggregators,” Iddi Abdul Razak, a mill operator at the Nasia rice milling center which permanently employs 27 people, including 10 women, said. “The youth and women are now interested in working in the rice value chain.”

USAID FinGAP linked the Tamanaa Company to Tradeline Consult, a business advisory service (BAS) provider within the Project’s network. Tradeline assisted the company in preparing a comprehensive business plan and loan applications to access additional financing.  First came a no interest loan of $20,553 from the then Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund (EDAIF), now part of Ghana EXIM Bank, for acquisition of a tractor and combine harvester. The equipment provided critical ancillary services to mechanize operations and cultivate more land and timely harvesting, resulting in improved rice quality and limiting losses.

Next came financing from Sinapi Aba Saving and Loans Limited (SASL), a USAID FinGAP pay-for-performance grantee, to implement an outgrower input credit and mechanization services scheme for 200 outgrowers in 2015 and 300 outgrowers in 2016.  First Allied Savings and Loans Limited (FASL), another USAID FinGAP pay-for performance grantee, followed up with funds for 600 outgrowers in 2017.

Tradeline Consult continued to assist Tamanaa in acquiring financing designed to further solidify the area’s rice value chain.  They secured a grant of approximately $53,230 from the GIZ’s Competitive Africa Rice Initiative (CARI) to train over 2,000 farmers and 300 female parboilers in good agricultural practices (GAP) and              business skills during the 2017 and 2018 production seasons. The financing, released in tranches, also enabled Tamanaa to improve the branding and packaging of its local rice.

Tamanaa, meaning “Chief Hope,” was aptly named.  Its series of financing has provided area jobs to over 3000 rice value chain actors and contributed to enhancing food security and slowing imports valued at $400 million a year. Women, including young girls who otherwise would have migrated to the urban centers, make up the core (70%) of Tamanaa’s operations.  These women work all along the value chain as members of farmer groups, parboilers, aggregators, packers, and retailers.

“Tamanaa has given us hope for the future,” Amama Issah, a Nasia Star rice retailer who now earns between $200 and $270 a month, said. “We have the opportunity to earn our own income and feed our families. Our daughters no longer migrate to urban areas to engage in menial jobs and live in squalor.”

Financing impact has been impressive.  The number of women who double as parboilers and aggregators increased from 70 in 2015 to 350 in 2017. The company has engaged 14 dedicated sales women to sell rice on commission at the Nasia tollbooth and other sales outlets within the Northern Region. It has also increased cultivated farmland from 400 acres in 2015 to 1200 in 2017, tripling rice production from 850 metric tons to 2550 metric tons over the same period.

Tradeline also supported a successful proposal submission from which Tamanaa was selected to participate in this summer’s Government of Ghana’s “One District, One Factory” initiative. The program will enable Tamanaa to scale up production, supply the Government’s School Feeding Program, and contribute to the country’s food security and livelihood development strategies.  By the end of 2018, rice processing is expected to increase from 20 to 100 metric tons a day, expanding outgrowers from 2000 to 5000 and providing them with quality inputs and GAP training to increase yield from 2.4 to 3.5 metric tons per hectare.

“My intention was to get my sisters back home to engage in productive and decent income earning activities,” Shaibu said. “Now, the whole community is benefitting from the work of Tamanaa. For less than $1 a day, community members can purchase rice from our mill to feed their families. I am grateful to USAID FinGAP for linking me to the BAS provider who has helped me access the financing needed to accomplish my vision.”