Traveling by motorbike on rural Ghana’s dirt roads, Racheal Derchie is an anomaly.
Young and university-educated, Racheal is the unlikely face of the future of farming in a country where the average farmer is 55 and poorly educated.
Racheal works with 200 smallholder farmers in Grameen Foundation’s AgroTech project. She uses its digital app suite to analyze and understand each farm’s history and needs. She teaches the farmers new practices, trains them in record keeping, and helps them obtain loans to purchase inputs.
At harvest time, she buys their crops on behalf of a large farmer and aggregator, ensuring the smallholders have a reliable market for their produce.
This is a profound shift for many of Ghana’s smallholder farmers, who have often approached farming as a solitary pursuit. Without access to knowledge or resources, their yields have been low.
Racheal is determined to change that. “When you know what you are doing and adopting good farming practices, you are able to increase your yields.”
Her conviction comes from personal experience. The commercial farmer she represents is her father, and as she grew up, she watched his business grow.
But when Racheal left for University to study economics, she imagined a future in banking in Accra, far away from her father’s fields.
Then her father asked her to join him in the AgroTech program. Much to the amazement of her friends, who are now planting roots in Ghana’s cities, it was a turning point.
Racheal knows that farming can be profitable, and she wants others to realize its benefit as well. Racheal said: “I love to put the food on people’s table. So when I realized I could help poor farmers adopt good practices to produce more, I became so happy for myself.”