Mar 21, 2023

Tebma Kandu: 2023 season kick-off

Early March 2023, the Fuji Oil Ghana sustainability team revisited all 35 Tebma Kandu cooperatives during a 1200km field trip. In the course of 7 days, we spoke with the project’s stakeholders about the successes and challenges.

Want to know what they had to say? Read along.

A mutual journey of moving forward

First, we want to make you aware that Tebma Kandu is not only about our goals: empower local women, restore nature, create local value. It’s also about the wonderful journey towards these goals.

Representatives of each cooperative were invited to discuss the challenges of the past year. Together with our team, ideas were formed about overcoming these challenges and improving results. This is exactly what it’s all about: growing together, overcoming challenges together, gaining from each other’s knowledge and experience

Challenges of the program

Some of the challenges were common for all the co-ops, like the poor crop of 2022 due to lack of rain.  Others are more specific and vary for each cooperative, just to give you an idea:

  • What would you do if you had to bring your own nuts to a warehouse 5 kilometers away, and leave it in the hands of a community where you don’t know, and maybe don’t trust, anyone?
  • Imagine the perfect location for a warehouse: close to all different communities within the cooperative and strategically placed next to a highroad. But building it there would be unrespectful towards local, traditional hierarchy between these communities.
  • Different groups want to unite and form a bigger cooperative but they only have 1 small warehouse available.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. The energy, initiative and creativity shown by locals in search of solutions was inspiring. And made us even more passionate about this project, or what did you expect? 😊

The willingness, for example, to use a part of the prefinancing to provide additional services to the cooperatives’ women, illustrates the growth potential of the cooperatives-model. While our way of working was very new to everyone in 2021 (the starting year of Tebma Kandu), we can see clear signs of trust and confidence in the model after 2022.

The Tebma Kandu family expands

The proof of the pudding is in the eating: during our field trip we were happy to invite 17 new members to the Tebma Kandu family. We welcomed them open armed, explained the meaning of the program and elaborated on mutual obligations.

All existing and new co-ops were enthusiast to sign the MOU and fair sales contract, affirming the sale of their high-quality shea nuts to our factory in Techiman, Ghana.

In case you’re not counting: this brings the total to 52 women shea cooperatives at the start of 2023 season.

We also welcomed the Green World Initiative (GWI) as a partner. This NGO will support the cooperatives throughout the year, similarly to what our other partner – the Presbyterian Agricultural Service (PAS) – is doing but in other regions.

Finally, Fuji Oil Ghana signed up for another ‘golden package’ with EcoRestore meaning 6,000 trees will be planted in the Langbinsi area. This time however, additional seedlings will be planted from the tree nursery in Loagri (developed under GSA’s GSLERP program) as a result of a cooperation between GWI and Fuji Oil Ghana.

A promising start of the 2023 season

The 2023 Tebma Kandu season kick-off was a memorable one.

With more and more women joining our cooperatives, we have high hopes for this season. Both the younger and older generations appreciate the change Tebma Kandu brings. Everyone is motivated to meet the targets.

As for the 2023 crop, it looks good so far but the weather conditions during the next weeks are crucial. Entering Garu on the evening of March 9th, the Fuji Oil team brought the first rains to the village; perhaps a good omen? 😉