Importing Yams from Ghana to the UK
In 2008, Community Food Enterprise (CFE) embarked on a new project with a Joint Venture Partner (JVP) in Accra, Ghana - importing Fresh Yams (in full tuber) from Ghana to the U.K., Firstly, Fresh Yam (in its natural tuber form) is a highly perishable produce, and between 10-50% losses occur during harvest. Moreover, further losses are incurred during storage and distribution and as a result the overall wastage could be very high. The latter, was the main issue experienced by CFE and its JVP and success of the project became vitally dependent on finding a solution to overcome the wastage problem.
Yam farm in Ghana
Developing a more Resilient and Economically Sustainable Yam Sector
CFE and its JVP had considered shipping the Yam tubers in refrigerated containers, (which would increase our costs and reduce margins) however, this idea would not have solved the wastage problems associated with pre-shipping and moreover, we would also experience the same wastage problems when the product arrived at our warehouse in London.
Around August 2012, CFE and its JVP finally came up with a possible solution how to increase the shelf life of Yam tubers following harvest – Freezing them at source and shipping them in refrigerated containers. This solution would solve the wastage problems associated with Yams as well as enabling the partners to enhance their export potential.
Yam Processing Plant
Since discovering the solution in 2012, CFE’s JVP has been the driving force in Ghana to realize the vision of building a processing plant in Ghana whereby we can process Sliced Frozen Fresh Yam and Frozen Fresh Yam Chips before shipping them in frozen containers to the UK.
This revolutionary idea will not only prolong the life cycle of yams, but will also solve the high wastage problem as well, Moreover, it will enable Yam growers to generate more income from selling their Yam crops in Ghana. Finally, it will enhance the quantity and quality of Yams exported from Ghana, as well as leading to a greater degree of food security in the country.
Yams going through quality control
Frozen Yam Chips Research
During our research in Ghana, our JVP came across a research paper by a Professor from, the Department of Nutrition & Food Sciences at one of Ghana’s leading University. The Professor had already carried out research in 2010 on Frozen Yam Chips. On learning of our project, the Professor agreed to grant us license/rights to utilize his study to produce Frozen Chips & Sliced Fresh Yams for commercial purpose.
This License will protect the partners against any future competitors giving us the rights to be the sole licensee to produce and distribute Frozen Yam Chips exclusively for a period of 5 years.
The Frozen Fresh Yam Chips product (as an alternative to frozen fresh Potato chips) will be sold locally in Accra and then nationally and thereafter to neighbouring countries while the Sliced Frozen Fresh Yam product will be exported mainly to the E.U and North American countries.
Through our JVP in Ghana, we have been able to develop a strong working relationship with one of the leading cold store contractors in West Africa. They have over 20 years’ experience, providing highly technical civil engineering solutions, specialize in insulation and refrigeration solutions, and pre-fabricate steel structures and logistical systems for warehouses. Moreover, we have also established relationships with numerous smallholder growers of Yams.
As can be seen, the project is unique in every sense and will be of great Socio-Economic benefit to Smallholder Growers of Yams, the government of Ghana, CFE’s JVP and the community they serve:
- Reducing hunger and helping to eradicate food poverty
- Improving Food Security in Ghana
- Creating much needed jobs for the Ghanaian economy
- Increasing Ghana’s share of Yam export and position Ghana as a world leader in Yam exports
- Increasing productivity in the Ghana economy
- Promoting environmental sustainability
- Providing long-term Financial sustainability for smallholder growers in the Yam sector
- Reducing the prices of Yams to consumers
- Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) within the community
- Reducing wastage in the Yam industry
- Providing much needed hard currency for the economy
- Project will be seen as model of best practice for entrepreneurs in Ghana and beyond
- Project concept can be transferred to other agricultural sector (e.g. Cassava)
- Help reduce CFE’s dependency on grant funding and provide long term sustainability for the organisations
- Project will create much needed jobs for unemployed people, especially in the East End of London where CFE is based
- Lower the price of Yams to consumers
- Project will help to reduce the dependency on large importers and constant price fluctuations
- Develop a wider distribution network thus making Yams more easily available
- Market Yams to a wider audience
What we require
The project will be delivered in two stages:
Stage 1 (Short Term)
To enable us to attract investors for part two, we need to raise £30,000 to carry out a feasibility study to determine the viability of our project. The Feasibility Study will be carried out by a leading business management company with offices in the world’s leading financial centres.
Stage 2 (Long Term)
If the Feasibility Study is positive, we intend to find equity investors to inject cash into the business and help us to realise the project’s full potential.
If you are new to Crowdfunder, here’s how it works. If you pledge money to us, and if enough of you do the same within the time limit, we will reach our target of £30,000. Once we have reached our target your pledges will be debited from your account and the money sent to us.
A shout out on CFE’s twitter page.
A shout out on CFE’s twitter page and a meal at a top Caribbean restaurant.
All of the above and a tour of the Olympic Park.
Every donor of £2,000 or more will get entered into a raffle for a chance to win a flight to Ghana to visit various attractive & historic sites.
Community Food Enterprise Limited (CFE) is an award winning social enterprise food business and a registered charity which was established by residents of the West Ham & Plaistow community, Newham, London. CFE was incorporated in June 2003 as a not for profit company limited by guarantees, and registered as a charity in September 2006.
Our aim is to develop a viable and sustainable food business that will provide training, capacity building and employment opportunities for members of the community.
For more information, or to contact us please visit our website at www.c-f-e.org.uk
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