For 2SCALE, inclusion of women and youth in agricultural value chains is a core tenet of our approach to agribusiness. One of the business champions that is very intentional about involving women in its business model is Rockland Farms in Ghana. Rockland Farms was established by Edith Akosah Wheatland in 2013 with the aim of ensuring a steady supply of affordable poultry products for the poor and medium income households to improve nutrition and at the same time strengthen market reach.
Demand for chicken has been growing steadily but the challenge is that most of the chicken consumed in Ghana comes from Brazil or the USA. Part of Edith’s motivation for starting the company was also to get locals to patronize locally grown chicken.
Since the start of the company, the business has grown with Rockland now processing over 1000 birds a day and expecting a new machine that will expand processing capacity to 5000 birds per day. Chicken demand is increasing due to the thriving chicken grilling business, Akoko Tasty as well as sales of chicken to other food establishments. To be able to meet the growing demand, Rockland has devised an outgrower system where the company outsources part of its chicken production to smallholder farmers in the Ashanti region. The system works this way: Rockland Farms trains the outgrowers on poultry production and management as well as records keeping and gives them some birds to rear (at least 250 chicks but could be more depending on farm size). The outgrowers also get all other inputs including chicken feed, drugs and vaccines from Rockland at affordable prices. Once the chicken are ready, Rockland offtakes them from the outgrowers, removing the burden of looking for markets, with the outgrowers earning a commission per bird. This results in a win-win for both the outgrowers and Rockand Farms.
“As a business, our goal is in the next few years to process 8 million birds a year. To achieve this goal, we devised a mechanism that allows us to reach the goal and also empower chicken farmers by them being outgrowers. This is a win-win for both parties because Rockland gets to increase production and farmers can earn additional income. Through this system, we give farmers chicks, farm inputs and technical advice so that they can be able to rear the chicken. Once mature, we buy the chicken and the farmer earns a commission per bird,” Edith explains.