Outgrower Programme

[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Smallholder Development Plan[/title] In addition to our own plantations it is of fundamental importance to the company that we help develop a well-structured and successful Out-Grower programme. This will not only help local farmers realise their potential but it will also help support the economic development of Ghana. The company has registered over 500 individual farmers accounting for 2,000ha of smallholder farmer oil palm plantings in the areas surrounding the mill and the estates.

Most of the 500 have been field-audited and we are currently buying fruit from over 250 outgrowers. These farmers planted palms as part of Ghana’s President’s Special Initiative on Oil Palm Plantings. Through this initiative, the Government of Ghana assisted smallholder farmers in planting oil palms in an effort to promote economic development and to reduce Ghana’s dependence on imports.The Government directive also promised to ensure commercial scale oil palm mills would be accessible to all smallholders nationwide. This part of the directive was not fully implemented in Volta Region leaving farmers without access to a commercial mill. Therefore, all FFB beyond the amount local manual small-scale millers could process, has been wasted.

In response to this problem Volta Red built a small mill capable of processing 1 tonne of FFB per hour in Kadjebi district, with the objective of developing a thriving and successful outgrower scheme.  The mill was commissioned in March 2013 and reached capacity within a year and has now been expanded to 2 tonnes per hour capability.

[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]With support from Solidaridad[/title][two_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]Volta Red is dedicating time and resources to improving outgrower farms and to increasing their yields. Currently yields are less than 3 tonnes of FFB per hectare, when the opportunity, through structured palm management, is to at least double these yields over the next 1-2 years. [/two_third][one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””]logo [/one_third][two_third last=”no” class=”” id=””]To achieve this goal we are working with Solidaridad, an international organisation with more than 25 years of experience in creating fair and sustainable supply chains from producer to consumer. http://www.solidaridadnetwork.org/supply-chains/palm-oil.

Solidaridad have introduced Best Management Practice (BMP) to oil palm outgrowers in Ghana teaching them how to increase yields by managing their farms in a consistent and structured way. The programme has been running for two years and there have been some spectacular successes, with some individual outgrowers experiencing yield increases to over 6 tonnes per hectare and in one case 15 tonnes per hectare.

Until recently Solidaridad has not carried out any work with outgrowers in Volta Region because there were no commercial oil palm operations to provide markets for outgrowers selling their fruit. Volta Red’s new mill has solved this problem and we are now working with Solidaridad to ensure that outgrowers in Volta Region will also benefit from the programme. Volta Red and Solidaridad held their first outgrower training day in November 2014 which was attended by eleven outgrowers. The training session was led by Solidaridad with support from Volta Red’s  Outgrower Development Officer. Click on the image to view a copy of the training day report in a new window.

Under Solidaridad’s guidance we have published a poster laying out the most important principals of BMP, which when implemented, increase yields significantly. Click on the image to open the poster in a new window.[/two_third][one_third last=”yes” class=”” id=””][fusionslider id=”” class=”” name=”solidaridad 2″][/fusionslider][/one_third][title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Volta Red, Solidaridad and AgDevCo[/title] Volta Red and AgDevCo have been in discussions about AgDevCo funding and assisting in the formal structuring of an outgrower programme. AgDevCo has visited the plantation and a number of outgrowers and has expressed interest in funding the programme and related capex in an amount between $1m to $2m. Discussions are on-going.  The goal is to develop a structured programme through which all of the registered and interested smallholders can sell their fruit to Volta Red, be trained on BMP, and have opportunities for other technical assistance and capacity building facilitated by Volta Red (including access to financing and inputs).

[title size=”2″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single solid” sep_color=”” class=”” id=””]Long term development plan[/title] Once participating smallholders understand the benefits of best practice through increases in yields and revenues, we will work with them to encourage an increase the size of their farms. Volta Red has already given away several thousand seedlings and advised on how to plant, manage, and maintain them in the early stages while they are vulnerable to disease, drought, insects and rodents. Developing and expanding the outgrower programme will be a constant and continual process.

[three_fourth last=”no” class=”” id=””][tagline_box backgroundcolor=”” shadow=”yes” shadowopacity=”0.1″ border=”1px” bordercolor=”” highlightposition=”top” content_alignment=”left” link=”” linktarget=”_self” button_size=”small” button_shape=”square” button_type=”flat” buttoncolor=”” button=”” title=”Soldiaridad’s objectives for oil palm are: ” description=”“Unleashing the true potential of the world’s most used and fastest growing vegetable oil. Palm oil and palm-derived products are everywhere. Because of the consequences for the humans and lands that produce it, palm oil’s reach extends far beyond products and uses. This is why sustainable production is capable of transforming industries and lives all over the globe.” ” animation_type=”0″ animation_direction=”down” animation_speed=”0.1″ class=”” id=””][/tagline_box][/three_fourth]
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Solidaridad is being advised on the ground by the agronomist Thomas Fairhurst who is also retained by Volta Red to advise on the development of company-owned nucleus plantations. [/one_fourth]


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