Blog by Frederick Abalo, Cooperative Advisor Ghana
From April 17th to 21st, team Ghana had an advisory service together with Agripool Expert Tim Servatius to assist 3 clients (Offinso Fine Flavour Cocoa Cooperative and Marketing Limited, Asetenapa Cocoa Cooperative and Wassa East Cocoa Cooperative Farmers and Marketing Union Limited) in developing commercial business plans for the establishment of farmer service centres.
The objective of establishing the farmer service centres is to provide a bundle of quality services to members at affordable costs, to generate income for their cooperatives, to create employment for members and more specifically the youth and to mitigate climate change impact on their cocoa production.
The assignment started with an exchange visit to EMFED FARMER SERVICE CENTER, a private and functional farmer service centre at Assin Fosu in the Central region of Ghana to have practical experience and interactions with the owner to gather ideas to help in establishing similar things in their centres and to as well fine-tune already existing service centres.
Further, they were taken through the business plan template on key areas such as the 9 building blocks of the Business Model Canvas, having SMART implementation plan, to give them clear focus and to target specific services they would like to deliver to both members and non-members.
With fully established and functional commercial farmer service centres, the cooperative yearly cocoa production is expected to increase with minimal costs of production. They will have a sustainable source of income and a greater number of their youth and members in their communities will gain employment leading to a reduction in the high rate of unemployment. Additionally, adverse climate impact will be minimized as their bundle of services will be environment-friendly.