Animal health is the biggest restriction to improving productivity of livestock in Ghana, where myriad of local diseases restrict animal productivity and cause high mortality rates. This is a result of reluctance by smallholders to administer vaccines, lack of knowledge about available medicines and the cost of and access to vaccinations and other medication. Over 50% of local farmers do not have any more than a primary education and the industry attracts an aging population. Many farmers lack basic production and managerial capabilities to efficiently manage their livestock. Because of this, they do not understand the importance of basic inputs such as provision of sheds for their animals, drenching, dipping or vaccinations of their livestock. This leads to poor animal health and business practices, low quality cattle and increased mortality rates.
Farmers are often forced to sell cattle for lower prices before the market is ready due to hunger or the need to send their children to school. Transporting cattle to markets is also difficult due to lack of water resources, poor roads and lack of transport options. Accessing the cattle markets can pose one of the great challenges for many smallholder farmers, that’s why we chose to start fixing the source of the problem by building the capacity of small holder farmers and providing them with a market for their beef. We developed an innovative on-line funding model, the crowdfarming, in which social investors, the cowbackers, can purchase a “share” in a real cow in Ghana, a cowshare, in return for exclusive rewards.
We created a sociale entreprise, Farmable, that uses crowdfarming of cows with a vision to create a self sustaining enterprise that empowers small holder farmers in Ghana to fight hunger without reliance on external aid. The goal is to raise awareness of the issues facing small holder cattle farmers in Ghana, help them achieve independence and create a crowfunding platform that is both fun and engaging to the world.
The idea for Farmable as a crowfunding platform was born from the Ghanian concept of Innoboa. which means communal help. Individual youth work together as a group to work as a unit on each other group member’s farm. As they work together, it creates the opportunity for learning and sharing ideas about their dreams, culture and farming knowledge. Thus Innoboa becomes a form of Social Capital for the benefit of both individual members and the greater community even beyond the farming activity.