Bees play an important role in Africa’s agricultural system, where they pollinate 80% of flowering plants and one-third of food crops. The economic benefits of bee pollination are also clear: The yields of major cash crops, such as sesame and cotton, increased by 60% in Burkina Faso when bees pollinated them. By fully investing in this value chain, top-producing African countries could earn around $100,000,000 per year with enough investment and innovation.
That’s why Ghana’s Sadik Ibn Abdulai founded Tilaa Ltd: He is working to satisfy Ghana’s high demand for honey and provide rural women in the country’s dry North with a safe and sustainable source of income. Founded in 2015, Tilaa works with smallholder farmers to grow cashew trees on their land and then places beehives under the protective canopy. Ibn Abdulai and his team then buy cashews, honey, and beeswax from their partner farmers. This two-crop mix promotes pollination, increases crop yields, and restores the land.
So far, Tilaa’s plantations are restoring 300 hectares of land with 120,000 cashew trees. The team has trained 500 women outgrowers in sustainable farming techniques, boosting their disposable incomes from $500 to $2,000. Tilaa also automatically registers its farmer partners to Ghana’s national health insurance and is in the process of creating a revolving loan fund that can provide capital for outgrowers’ other economic ventures.
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