Supermarket green waste

Throughout the months here we have also been checking to align the goals of our pilot-scale work at the insectarium with that of a commercial-scale maggot production under local on-farm conditions. We first calculated the amount of waste  needed to run all the bays and trays at the insectarium; the quantity of live+dired BSF larvae and kg of frass produced in that week; and the cost  for setting up and running this production system. Finally we outlined the following targets:

1: Identify the major green waste handlers in the city
2: Estimate how much  green waste those companies throw out per week – where does it go and what happens to it ?
3:  Find out the total costs incurred to dispose of it  - and potential for separating all plastic and other cardboard wastes from fruits and vegetables before disposing. 

We first went to all the major supermarket in town and the managers gave us an insight on the distribution system and key actors in this share of the supply chain. Freshmark, Edentree and Newrest have been stated by our key informant interviewees as the major procurement and distribution arm in the fruit and veg sector. Products (and quantities of) vary seasonally, yet estimations with past records showed supermarket suppliers could be a reliable alternative in Ghana to supply sufficient, constant and nutritious organic green waste to eventual commercial-scale insect producers. 

 Zoomlion and Asadu Royal Seed Waste Management are the companies those supermarket suppliers usually turn to to dispose of their unsaleable goods. Trucks come and collect the wastes three times a week to bring it to landfill; an expensive service individuals from this sector showed interest in substituting -particularly if it may benefit both their profit and the image of their company.

More on other potential food waste suppliers later...

Asadu Royal Seed and waste management

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After a 3 days footage at Madina market and the Animal Research Institute in Adenta, 
the Ento-Prise Video will be ready soon...  

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Pilot testing and focus group discussions in Ashaiman

One of the most important step before fully implementing a questionnaire is to test it with a trial run; a small-scale version of the larger project. Pilot testing is crucial to help catch potential issues and prevent them from escalating. This week we met with farmers in Ashaiman, gathered in small groups and with some guideline questions sat to discuss farming practices, the challenges they have to face those days and their perception of our BSF products. Together we also went through the questionnaire samples and made sure all the questions were relevant ; so as to ensure we'd be measuring the desired outcomes in the best way possible. For this event we brought a poster and small samples of dried BSF and compost to show them the appearance, texture and smell of the final product. People we spoke with there were very enthusiastic about the project. For them, organic fertilizers are the best solution to avoid soil pollution and help replenish soil nutrients and its fertility.
 At the end of the day we shared some of our BSF compost we had brought in a truck and thanked them for their time - as we say around here, crops can't afford to take any day off!

Worth the check

Today we are hopping between ag shops to get a better idea of nutrient costs and supply in the area. Emmanuel is tapping in an NPK goldmine here; Dizengoff's price are hard to compete with. The store is big, clean and there's plenty on offer. But it's the start of the new year, so just like with Aglow and Agrimat, we can't find the 50kg bag we were looking for. Someone tells us it shouldn't be long before they replenish and gives us a vague estimate of the price. At this point, everything seems to follow a general pattern. We make our way to smaller retailers and here... surprise: it's a 5 GHC win on the 1kg pack but an extra 10 GHC on the 50kg! As we're thinking, most of them buy from larger suppliers and, at this time of the year with empty stocks across town, they can afford for a small folly that won't hurt their business. 

The world's breadbasket

Key informant interview - Charles is the officer in charge at the Ghana Development Irrigation Authority and the principal agronomist at the Ashaiman site where he has trained farmers on techniques to grow their crops. He knows the area like the back of his hands so we sat for a while and he told me about the complex Ghanaian agri-business structure. He says farmers today have to face a number of challenges, from lack of soil nutrients, pest and diseases, water pollution and lack of machinery. But importantly he says there's a need for knowledge in best practices. For this reason, Charles is open to conducting BSF trials on the Ashaiman fields. Africa is the world's breadbasket, and we need to work together to improve food security, locally and globally. We talked for a long time; about farming sites, tribal dissociations, gender perceptions and youth and employment in the country. We walked the fields where the left side of the valley plunges onto the shadows and at the end of the day gathered around the table with a feast of local dishes. We will meet again soon for the farmers' surveys Mr. Adeku.  

Fufu meal with Mr. Adeku

Getting around

Personally i've always been a fan of maps. In relation to my previous post, it could always be helpful to check for a small sketch of the areas we'll survey. Fair enough, Ashaiman and the outskirts are not included here, but this will have to do. As you can see, Dzorwulu Roman Ridge and Abelemkpe are close to one another. That's good news because it means farmers could share transportation costs for a hypothetical BSF compost. For our next meeting,we'll try to understand if they share land tenure systems, input utilizations, management and production practices.

La Palabre'

So far so good, small catch up on the contact situation. Past December, we built ourselves a network to prepare for our upcoming events and workshops on BSF trials. With a bit of desk research, we found that most of the agriculture in urban Accra is irrigated vegetable production systems. We leaned on one of the international Water Management Institute report to pick 1) Dzorwulu 2) Roman Ridge/ Abelemkpe and 3) Roman Down (Ashaiman) for our market research. So here we are now chatting our way through the fields.

Mr. Karim and Emmanuel discussing important matter at Dzorwulu farming site
Mohammed Sadi’s irrigation system at Bisa Farmed Association Kaokudi CSIR