This past week, our Publications & Media Manager, Cynthia, has been traveling in Ghana to meet clients and staff, see our work in education finance and agricultural finance, and experience firsthand the technology innovations that help us reach many more clients.
On Friday, I visited three women farmers–Emelia George, Enyoman Hlordzi and Gladys Donu–in Ada, an area two hours outside of Ghana’s capital Accra. As far as the eye could see were small plots of land financed through Opportunity’s agricultural finance program. In spite of the heat and intense sun, the women greeted us with cheerful smiles and proudly showed us their farms, which featured neatly planted rows of tomatoes, onions and carrots. I marveled at what they could grow in the sandy soil! I thought about the effort it took to dig those thousands of small holes and to place a single seedling in them. Then I learned how Opportunity loans have enabled these farmers to purchase irrigation systems, including an electrical pump and tubes (hoses), so they no longer have to carry buckets of water from the well to water the plants individually. There literally are not enough hours in the day to keep up with this backbreaking task. It was such a beautiful thing to see sprays of water shooting up from the black rubber tubes placed along the rows. And this scene is being repeated in six communities in Ada, where we serve 110 smallholder farmers, 55% of whom are women.
With irrigation, fertilizer, seed and manure purchased with Opportunity loans, Emelia, Enyoman and Gladys have expanded the size of their farms and the variety of crops they grow. They’ve received training which has helped them improve their farming methods. This has ultimately increased their crop production, their income and their ability to support their families. They also can afford to hire neighbors to help them clear more land and harvest their bumper crops.
We went back today with an Opportunity Ghana agricultural loan officer to visit further with these farmers on their land and in their homes, and hear more about our program there. We’re excited to share the farmers’ stories with you in the weeks and months ahead, so stay tuned to the blog, social media and more.