GhanaVeg Awards: Kukobila Nasia Farms Ltd. adjudged Most Inclusive Business
The GhanaVeg program has honored Kukobila Nasia Farms Limited as the Most Inclusive Business of the year for the initiative in supporting farmers with inputs to grow butternut squash as cash crop for export, an initiative which contributes largely to the towards the development of the horticulture sector in Ghana.
The citation for the award reads: “For the most inclusive business awards, we have a company that is producing butternut squash for export within an arrangement that involves nucleus farm in an outgrower scheme. The scheme underpins the whole export business producing to supply the nucleus farm so that they can get a critical mass for the export requirement. The company provides inputs directly to over 120 farmers and this is done in a buy back arrangement which means that when they give the produce to the farmers they buy back and then they are able to meet their export requirements and in a part of the country where poverty and vulnerability is high, this company is providing employment to lots of these farmers”.
The GhanaVeg awards seek to honor deserving companies in the Ghanaian horticulture sector whose innovative ideas have positively contributed to the immense growth of sector. The criteria for selecting the awardees were growth, innovation, inclusiveness and sustainability.
Out of 30 Agro-based companies nominated for 7 categories of awards, AB Farms was adjudged the Most Sustainable Business while Lucob Farms was declared Most Vibrant Growing Business, followed by Kukobila Nasia Farms Ltd. pronounced as Most Inclusive Business. Others are Eden Tree Limited-Best Business Innovation, Tikolo Limited-Best New Product (Domestic), Joekopan Enterprise-Best New Product (Export) and Fruit Master-Best Booth at the Trade Fair.
The awards program, an initiative of GhanaVeg climaxed the 3rd GhanaVeg Fruit and Vegetable Fair, a 3-day event which took place inside the plush building of the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel in Accra on the eve of June 15, 2016.
This year’s fair which among other things seeks to promote healthy and quality vegetables from Ghana as well as foster improved ways of doing business also witnessed an 11-member trade delegation from the Netherlands horticulture sector visiting Ghana for the first time to explore business and investments opportunities with the Ghanaian counterpart.
Addressing participants at business forum prior to the awards ceremony, Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto noted his outfit is committed to helping solve the issues the led to the country’s ban of vegetable export to the EU market. For him the ban could’ve been reversed if stakeholders were to be responsible for doing things right. He therefore called on stakeholders to exercise restrained and allow their products to be inspected at the farm gate before exports.
In an Inclusive interview with Ghananewsone.com, Marketing Manager for Kukobila Nasia Farm, Ms. Jemilatu Sayibu noted awareness creation on the uses and benefits of the butternut squash is the major challenge her outfit and for that matter most farmers has been battling with leading to poor sales of the yields.“
“Most people don’t know the uses and importance of butternut squash and if they don’t know and you grow it what happens is that you won’t be able to sell and if you don’t sell it then it spoils when you’ve invested so much into it. So we’re trying as much as we can to create the awareness on its consumption locally so people will know it and not bypass it or see it as a foreign product and can easily buy it”.
Ms. Jemilatu Sayibu who also doubles as a Resource Person for the Kukobila Nasia Farms Ltd. is very passionate about creating awareness on butternut squash and wants government, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and Corporate Institutions, Philanthropists to support her outfit financially to achieve her aim.
According to her, the squash is a highly nutritious super food with great medicinal values capable of giving everyone a healthy living. She said it can be inculcated into local dishes. For instance “you can use it in place of plantain to prepare “tatale”, “kaklo” or you can also use it in place of carrot; you can shred it to make coleslaw or you can just parboil it and add it to your salads”. Aside that it is good for preparing babies diet as well as pregnant women as most nursing mothers in the rural areas can easily afford therefore they don’t even have to attend the hospital”.
“You see, these are things the gov’t needs to support, if we have a healthy nation, what do we have? a richer nation, because we cut down on hospitals expenses like drugs, equipment and so on and so forth. So if the gov’t can support this program, I think it will go a long way to help both farmers and consumers and the country at large”. Jemilatu stressed.
Finally, Jemilatu Sayibu appealed to the media to help raise public awareness on the usefulness and inherent benefits of the butternut squash so people can use it and derive the health benefit from it.
By Joseph Kobla Wemakor/Ghananewsone.com