In a country where over 85% of beef is imported from South America and the UK than from local farmers and where there is a deficit of 95,000 tonnes of meat annually, owning cows is next to being king.
However, it is not so as Ghana, one of Africa biggest democracies has a high cattle mortality rate and average cattle size is very low compared to imported cattle but in just 3-4 weeks, this is set to change for the better.
A US and Ghanain based firm is set to launch a crowdfunding the country for anyone around the world to invest in cattle farmers in Ghana and later across the continent. Dubbed Farmable
, the portal is expected to support farmers in Africa and other emerging markets through crowdfarming i.e equip farmers with the tools and resources necessary to fight hunger and build a sustainable food supply.
The portal expects to create a self sustaining enterprise that empowers small holder farmers to fight hunger without reliance on external aid or charity. It will first go live in Ghana.Speaking to TechMoran, Damian Brennan CEO – Co-Founder of Farmable World Group of Companies LLC said Farmable has developed a crowdfunding platform which will be used to channel funding from social investors around the world to fund the capacity building activities of smallholder farmers.
By investing in a cow through the Farmable website, online funders become ‘CowBackers’.In return they get the unique experience of being connected to their own cow on a real farm in Ghana. Every cow costs $500 and is made up of ‘cowshares’. ‘CowBackers’ can choose to fund a full cow or invite friends and family to share a cow, also known as ‘cowsharing’. This is facilitated through social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn.To incentive funding, ‘CowBackers’ can name their cow and earn a range of unique rewards based on their level of funding. These rewards range from small tokens of appreciation to personalized gifts; such as a one-off, custom illustrated t-shirt featuring their cow.
“As the venture is located in Ghana, we have to perform several work-arounds to the standard crowd funding situation, such as non-refundable backing. We have overcome this obstacle by introducing a rewards shop so even if your cow does not get funded, you can still get a reward. On top of that, the money is always going towards a good cause,” Brennan said.
Brennan adds that the beauty is in the way the company is structured – an online business unit, which is a crowd funding platform that will generate funds for capacity building; a social business unit, which manages the capacity building of partner farmers; and, a commercial unit, that will purchase the improved cattle stock from the smallholder farmers and distribute the beef into the local markets. The company will be both self sustaining and profitable. At the same time it provides a path out of poverty for small holder farmers by helping them manage their herd better, while at the same time providing a profit center in the form of guaranteed sales at above market prices.
The reward shop lists all the custom cows that have been created on the CFP. CowBackers start by choosing a cow design followed by a reward such as a t-shirt, notepad or dart board that will have the custom cow printed on it. Each of these rewards will have a price in both ‘points’ and ‘US$’ as outlined in Table: CFP Rewards Price Structure. CowBackers will be able to access the rewards shop and pay directly with currency, points or a combination of both currency and points.While the crowdfunding portal is under development, we want to get you involved. We will soon be opening the create-a-cow area on the site, where you can create a cow, name it and get your cow listed in the online store.
Users can visit the website sign-up, join a cow and check out some of the rewards that you can get from the rewards shop.
The revolutionary platform is expected to tackle Africa’s food problem by giving farmers capacity building opportunities or activities for farmers.