In 2011, with a new focus on financial sustainability, AYEC began work on a farm that will supply the committee with a more consistent source of income. The goal of the farm is to provide financial resources that will make AYEC less dependent on donations or the income generated by volunteer placement. This would ensure consistency in AYEC’s ability to support the orphan uniform fund as well as the secondary school scholarship fund.
In line with this goal, AYEC selected plantains as their main crop. Plantains will continue to grow for ten years or more, and will bear fruit every year. In addition to their long lifetime, plantains are also a very profitable crop in the community, as there is a high demand for them. In fact, the demand is so high that people will pay for the plantains before they are even grown, to ensure that they are the ones that get the fruit.
Currently, the farm sits on three acres of land just outside the village of Helekpe and contains about 750 plantains. Maize is planted throughout the plantains so as to reduce weed growth and the cost of weeding. The plantains were planted in spring 2011, and the first crop is ripening in time for harvest in the summer of 2012. Once harvested, it is expected that the fruit of each plant will be sold for around 5 Ghana Cedi.
AYEC is currently focusing on securing funding to further develop the farm. They hope to expand the farm to provide space for more plants, as well as purchase a motorbike with an attached cart to allow easy transport of the plantains.
AYECs Farm Facts:
- 750 plantain plants
- 3 acres of land
- Expected revenue of 5 Cedi per plant per year
- Lifetime of at least ten years per plant