Panuka Farm produces fresh vegetables in Zambia using agricultural techniques adapted to cimate change and combines productivity with biodiversity conservation. The company was presented in the...
Business Location: Kumasi, Ghana
Type: Limited Liability Company
Year of Founding: 2005
Number of Employees: 66 full-time
Owners: Michael Annan-Forson and Anita Korsah
In 2005, after Michael returned from his mission in Thailand at Ichie Coconut Processing International, he started to produce organic coconut oil on his own for his relatives. He started to save money so that he could establish his own pilot production capacity, producing up to 10 litres per day between 2008 and 2015. In 2016, Michael had his first international order from an Israeli customer, who bought 10 tons of virgin coconut oil. This order amounted to US$35,000, which enabled Michael to rent a five-room apartment in Kumasi and to engage 16 women as full-time workers to manually produce coconut oil.
Michael aims to contribute over the next three decades to making Africa a major food producer and net food exporter, which will be vital to ensure sufficient food for the growing African population. Currently Ghana has a strong food imports–exports imbalance, as more than 90% of the food consumed is imported, despite Ghana being a rich and vast land.
MCP’s business vision is to deliver worldwide with speed and integrity. This is achieved partly through close work relationships with the coconut farmers who supply MCP, as well as (socially excluded) women and children from the community.
MCP has a strong social impact, working with women excluded from society, training its supplying farmers, raising health awareness in local schools of the farming community, and supporting orphanages and widows each month. MCP believes in empowering women to be independent in order to reduce or eliminate in Ghana and Africa.
Strong Relationships with Smallholders
All MCP’s workers (mainly single mothers) are employed on a permanent basis. The company works closely with women and young people who are excluded from society, for example women in prison or in prostitution and single parents in rural zones. All employees have received basic training on all the machines used at the different stages of the production process to develop skills and become independent.
Since its creation, MCP mainly sources coconut from 166 local farmers, of whom 160 are women. MCP occasionally organises workshops for its coconut farmers offering training on how they can add value to their lives, build a savings habit and educate their children. MCP has also taught them good agricultural practices so that they produce better coconuts through the ‘‘Replace a Dead Coconut’ initiative. MCP also connected its farmers to UniBank to create awareness among the farmers on investment plans as coconuts are harvested every four months and farmers often find themselves without financial resources in the meantime.
Products Covered and Markets
MCP trades processed products under the product brand name ‘Ropheka’ for the health & beauty, as well as the food and hospitality sectors. Its product range includes:
– Ecocert Fairtrade-certified extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil, not refined, not deodorized and without additives.
– Fresh coconut water
– Coconut porridge
– Organic Coconut butter from organic coconut meat: it contains the oil, the fiber and other nutrients of the coconut meat.
– Coconut water vinegar
– Activated coconut shell charcoal powder
– Coconut shell charcoal
– Coconut hair and skin conditioner
– Coir sacks and ropes, and coir mattresses from processed coconut fibre
MCP also produces aloe vera oil.
MCP’s products are organic (USAD-NOP), Fair for Life and Kosher certified. MCP also meets the standards of Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Global Supply Standard (GSA).
MCP supplies domestic, regional and international markets, its main customers being Ghana, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, the USA, the Netherlands, Israel and Russia.
Innovations: Milestones and Expansion Plans
The infrastructure expansion from a single-room apartment in Accra to a large apartment in Kumasi in 2016 has formalised the production process and enabled MCP to meet the quality standards (PPRA, FDA, GSA). The organic, Fair for Life and Kosher certifications are also important for business development.
MCP has developed its capital without taking any bank loans, but with the award grant of US$17,000 from India and the UK Department for International Development through the programme Connect to Grow for Africa received in 2016. Michael has been sponsored to visit India, where he met coconut processing-machine engineers and could establish its own processing site, as well as to develop its own 200-acre coconut plantation with the grant.
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