Ghana women farmers partner to build a soap making business

AdobeStock 11160772The Kokoo Pa Farmers Association, supported by FAO's Forest and Farm Facility (FFF) programme, has trained women farmers from the Adansi South district, Ghana, in making soaps from the waste materials of cocoa

The Adansi South region, a forested district, which is known for the production of rice, cassava, plantain, maize and vegetables, was making little profit due to little or no market access.

To improve the farmers’ livelihoods, Kokoo Pa Farmers Association (formerly known as AHANSUCOFA), offered them a new means of earning their livelihood.

“My income has improved since I learned soap making skills and how to manage my finances,” said Mabel Bamflore. Portia Botwe said, “Since my partnership with Mabel, we have developed a strong soap making business, that has helped my finances.” Mabel and Portia are both 25 years old and raising their children in Obuobi, Adansi South District, Ghana. The training has helped Mabel and Portia bring together resources, and build a strong business in soap making, while managing their finances through the VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association) method of saving their profit.

Kokoo Pa Farmers Association was formed in 2009 by cocoa farmers, from an initial 10 communities in the Ahafo Ano North and Ahafo Ano South districts in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. It is a membership-based association with about 8600 farmers, 5676 men and 2924 women in seven districts in the Ashanti (Adansi South district), Brong, Ahafo, and Western regions, which promotes cocoa beans production to meet member farmers’ livelihood needs. 

It is supported by the Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), which is a partnership involving the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations and other partners.

The FFF programme supports the Kokoo Pa Farmers Association to promote women entrepreneurship, and faciliate access to markets and finance, through training in different livelihood ventures of soap making, pastries, and the establishment of VSLA in three communities for financial inclusion.

Since November 2020, the farmers’ association using VSLA, has improved the savings and financial management of their businesses. The association has also helped farmers build skills in entrepreneurship.

“Before the intervention I made really small income from my little farm practice and I could not save, but since my participation in the various trainings, I have started my business which has brought more profit and I can now save sufficiently with the VSLA available,” Portia said. Mabel revealed she made little profit from selling the raw baobab produce from her farm, but now that she has acquired the skill of making soap from the Baobab produce, she is making much more profit.

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