Ghana Nuts Limited is a leading agro processor, manufacturer and exporter of a range of edible oils, animal feed materials and shea butter. When it started in 2002, the company primarily processed and marketed tropical nuts and oil seeds such as peanuts, sesame and cashews. Profitable since it began operations, Ghana Nuts nevertheless struggled in its early stages to meet growing demand for its products as it worked to consolidate its market position and sustain profits.
In 2005, as part of a project to improve the living standards of Ghanaian private sector workers and farmers, the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) awarded Ghana Nuts a grant for approximately $250,000 to increase the company’s capacity to produce and export its products. The funds helped Ghana Nuts modernize its factory equipment, construct sanitary facilities, and receive technical advice from marketing experts. Ghana Nuts was also able to provide stable employment and income for its employees and the rural farmers from whom it purchases raw materials, while sustainably building its own profitability.
Since receiving the USADF grant, Ghana Nuts has become a multi-million dollar company and is now a key player in other Ghanaian value chains, exporting more than 50,000 metric tons of shea nut and 80,000 metric tons of soya bean annually to Europe, India and Japan. The company employs over a thousand people, a tenfold increase in its workforce from when it first received U.S. development assistance.
In 2012, Ghana Nuts became one of six Ghanaian companies to sign a letter of intent under the New Alliance, aiming to contribute to the strength and sustainability of local production and supply chains. In particular, Ghana Nuts pledged to promote soya by increasing procurement, dramatically expanding business linkages and partnerships with local companies, and building the capacity of 25,000 smallholder farmers. The company also planned to expand into maize procurement and processing, in part by doubling the area under cultivation to 1000 acres by 2013.
A year later, Ghana Nuts has made substantial progress on its New Alliance commitments, achieving its cultivation target for maize and procuring 45,000 metric tons of commodities from smallholders. The company has reached 27,000 smallholder farmers with more than $4 million in cash and in-kind investments, demonstrating the wide-ranging effects that a small amount of U.S. assistance can have on the long-term development of agricultural economies.