IV. Scientific Research and Mushroom Cultivation in Ghana
V. Tilapia Farming in Ghana
A. Part 1
VI. Letters of Support
For further information and updates, please contact:
Post Office Box 1,
Mepe, Volta Region-Ghana
This ready to build proposal is for a multi-tiered Diversified Agriculture Project which will create jobs, provide food and alleviate poverty in Ghana. The concept is to start with the agricultural waste that is currently being discarded and use it produce a crop of fast growing, high value edible and medicinal mushrooms. The second step is to use the waste from the mushroom growing process as raw feed stock for manufacturing high grade Tilapia feed pellets. This is a proven technology and all raw material inputs are currently available in Ghana, including agricultural waste, human resources, land, water and Tilapia brood fish. The market is also present, with Ghana showing one of the highest consumption rates for Tilapia in the world, as well one of the highest market prices for fresh Tilapia. A further huge market is readily accessible: Export to the rest of Africa. With implementation of this project, the exportable products will be Mushroom Spawn (the seed stock used for mushroom farming), Pelleted Tilapia feed, both fresh and processed finished mushrooms and mushroom products, and fresh and frozen Tilapia. A further exportable commodity will be highly trained technical service personnel who will have the skills to set up similar diversified agriculture programs in other areas.
This project is divided into four phases. Phase one is the establishment of a mushroom spawn facility. This is the seed stock used to grow mushrooms and trigger the rest of the project. The entire concept hinges around the availability of high quality mushroom spawn. Spawn is quite expensive if imported, as it requires a high-tech approach for manufacture, and it requires expensive refrigerated air freight to bring it to Ghana. However, PHASE I (detailed below) of this proposal shows how a Mushroom Spawn Plant and Training Facility can be built in Ghana. With the completion of this spawn plant, the rest of the project becomes feasible. The construction and start up for the Spawn Plant will take approximately 6 months, and the first group of trained spawn producers and mushroom farmers will follow seven weeks after that. In less than one year this will result in massive employment opportunity for large numbers of Ghanaians. The total time from planting to first harvest for mushroom crops is approximately 21 days, so the farmers will see an economic return almost immediately, which will fuel the people’s passion for involvement in this new industry in Ghana.
The goal in building this spawn plant and associated Diversified Agriculture Training School is to provide high quality mushroom spawn which will enable, expand and modernize mushroom farming in Ghana, with export potential throughout West Africa. The associated Trade School will teach new farmers how to manage, grow and sell their mushroom crops, taught in the school’s working mushroom farm, as well as in the classroom. This spawn plant / training facility is designed to be self sustaining. Once the initial capital is invested in the infrastructure and first six months of operating expenses, the training farm will be producing sufficient quantity of spawn and mushrooms to be a profit making entity.
As a budgeting guide for establishing the PHASE I facility and school we have outlined the requirements for staffing, buildings and equipment. It will require a working - teaching farm so farmer and students can actually do the work in each phase of the growing process from Spawn Production right up to crop harvest and market. We do not have actual building costs for Ghana available, so we have estimated combined staff, facility and equipment requirements for this presentation based upon similar projects that have been built and are in operation. Our goal is to use existing facilities if possible, such as those offered for the project at Mepe-Degorme as detailed later in this proposal.
The requirements listed below are based upon student/farmer class groups of 20 individuals. The total facility is sized to house and train 140 farmer and technician trainees at a time. The program is set to divide the classes into groups of twenty people each. A class of 20 students would start each week, with a seven week course of study. After seven weeks and beyond a total of 140 students would be working on the farm. The first group that is enrolled will graduate at the end of week seven and a new group of 20 will replace them. This will follow week after week with 20 students graduating and 20 new students starting. This will allow us to have all phases of the mushroom crop cycle in operation at all times. We plan to have a select group of student and instructors in the first class that would assume field teaching duties for subsequent classes. These would form the core of an agricultural extension service that would teach mushroom farming to people in areas remote from the school. Each week, as one group graduates, another group will begin in order to continue the cycle. The cafeteria facilities will be sized for all students and staff. Dormitory facilities should be sized as required for out- of-area students in any given period. As this will be a working farm, the income from selling the fresh mushrooms and spawn in the local or extended markets will subsidize some, if not all of the operating expenses. The goal of PHASE I is to build out this Mushroom Spawn Plant and Training Facility as soon as possible.
REQUIREMENTS: (Concept Drawing Attached)
• Well located vacant land suitable for new construction (approximately 2.5 hectares) OR existing manufacturing warehouse and school /dormitory buildings that can be utilized or remodeled to meet project specifications as follows:
Spawn Production Plant:
• Spawn production building approximately 100 sq. meters
• Clean room (inside spawn plant)
• Low tech mushroom houses (8-10)
• Boiler/storage/cold storage building
• Production area – 20m x 30m with concrete slab, roof, no walls
• Process shed – 40m x 40m
• Substrate storage shed roof, concrete floor, open walls
• Adequate water and electric service
• 2 - Vehicles
• Dormitory – Cafeteria Facility
• Multi-purpose building-classroom
The entire facility must be fenced for security
• 1 - General Manager
• 1 - Accountant
• 8 - Instructors
• 6 - Food and Domestic Services
• 1 - Maintenance
• 2 – Security
• 1 – Truck Driver
• 3 – Large Autoclaves for substrate processing
• 1 – Boiler w/ associated piping and accessories
• 1 – Shredder
• 1 – Dryer
• Required hand tools (shovels, rakes, hoes, etc.)
• Laboratory equipment as required
• Clean room equipment as required
• 5 Ton truck (lorry)
• 2 – pickup trucks or equivalent
• Spawn growing bags
• Mushroom growing bags or containers
• Mother Spawn to start from United States
• General consumable supplies
• Transport and shipping boxes
• Processing containers
• Local substrate material
The spawn plant described herein is PHASE I of a four-phase Food and Jobs program. It is sized to provide all mushroom spawn required to build a country-sized mushroom industry capable of supplying a large percentage of the protein that is required in a healthy diet for all the people of Ghana as well as excess spawn to be used as an export commodity to all of West Africa, East Africa and South Africa. The mushroom crops will be grown on agricultural waste products that are now being discarded. There will be new jobs created in each phase of the process such as teaching, farming, packaging, transporting, selling and exporting. All of the resulting income will go into the local economy which will create more jobs and income.
Based upon our experience building other Spawn Plant facilities we estimate the cost to build and equip this facility as designed, will be $2,100,000 USD to $2,500,000 USD. Our research into the actual construction labor, material and staffing costs in Ghana indicate this budget is accurate based upon the plans available.
The completion of the PHASE I Spawn and Training Facility is the keystone upon which the rest of the diversified agriculture project pivots. Once this Phase is operational, the other Phases can come on line. Cutting corners on PHASE I will reduce the end result exponentially for the rest of the project. Due to the technical nature of spawn production, there is a certain technological density that must be met with in PHASE I that makes the rest of the project possible. This concept does not scale well by trying to start a small spawn plant with the intention of scaling up later. This PHASE I portion is the most important and is scaled correctly to make the rest of the project practical.
Upon completion of this PHASE I portion, a mushroom growers co-op will be formed to supply the farmers with the mushroom spawn, ongoing training and support and to provide a guaranteed market for the mushrooms produced.
The second phase is building a plant to locally produce dry pelleted fish food which will be used in Tilapia Fish Farming. Almost all Tilapia fish food now used on farms in Ghana, as well as across the rest of Africa, is imported from South America or Asia at great cost and with questionable quality control. The plant we propose to build has been built in China, Central and South America and in Vietnam. This plant will produce a high quality, floating pellet type fish food that can supply all of the fish farms existing or to be built in Ghana, as well as being an export commodity in high demand that can be shipped to the rest of Africa. As a base for the fish food we will use the residual substrate material remaining at the mushroom farms after all edible mushroom crops have been harvested. This waste material which has been bio-converted from the cellulose crop residue contains approximately 35% protein by the time the mushroom harvest is complete, and is ideal for fish and animal food. We would combine this raw material with fish meal made from waste products in the Tema fish packing industry, as well as other protein waste sources and soy beans which would be contract grown to supply this project. A fish meal plant will be built in Tema or nearby to utilize this fish waste at maximum value. The estimated cost of this facility, including all buildings, infrastructure and new equipment is $1,750,000 USD to $2,250,000 USD. This estimate is based upon identical plants that have been built and equipped in other countries.
PHASE III is building a state of the art Tilapia Fingerling Hatchery in the Volta Region. This hatchery will utilize the clean fresh water available and will be sized to expand the Tilapia farming industry and put many of the unemployed Volta area fishermen back into productive, well paying jobs. One of the principal limiting factors in the expansion of this industry has been the high cost of fingerlings, which currently sell for as much as 85 pesewas each from one of the few suppliers in the area. Our research has shown we can build a new high quality hatchery that will allow us to grow the highest quality fingerlings and sell them to the farmers profitably at a price between 5 to 7 pesewas each. Tilapia farming is a highly developed industry in South America, North America and throughout Asia and there are many design and price models for hatcheries and farms that have been proven to work well and economically. The main variable in fingerling cost to the farmer is the availability of high quality, reasonably priced fish food, which we will supply from the food plant built in PHASE II. Again, we propose to build a large scale working fish farm Training Center in conjunction with the hatchery where fish farmers can complete a vocational training course similar to the mushroom farm school described in PHASE I. Farmers will be taught every aspect of running a healthy and profitable fish farm. Final budget will depend on the design and size of the facilities selected. We estimate the cost range for construction and equipment for the hatchery and training facility to be $3,000,000 USD to $5,000,000 USD depending on facility size and the infrastructure costs for the site selected.
The final phase is constructing an assembly plant to build floating Tilapia fish pens similar to those which are now used in the Volta region of Ghana and other regions of Africa. These pens would be built on land and floated into Volta lake or river as required by new fish farms. These high quality pens would be leased or sold to trained fish farmers and anchored in areas where the farmer has a fish farm concession or in a group of fish farms in one concession. As part of a co-operative program these farmers would receive fingerlings from the hatchery and fish food from the food plant at a preferential price. They would receive ongoing training and assistance during their growing cycles. Finally the co-op would guarantee purchase of their fish crop at a pre-agreed price and the fish would be sold fresh in the Ghana markets and exported to other African or European markets. The goal in this phase is to greatly expand the fish growing and exporting capacity of Ghana which will produce high protein affordable food as well as thousands of jobs. Also this phase will create the stable markets required by the fish food plant and the Tilapia fingerling operations. This assembly plant will only require a large shed structure and level yard area for storage of finished pens. Including materials for initial pen construction the budget for this Phase is $650,000 USD.
Building this cutting-edge project will require a funding source such as local or foreign Government, International organization or private foundation with funds earmarked for self sustaining food production in Africa. We envision this as a joint public-private venture between ALOHA ECOWAS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, LTD. and the GOVERNEMNT OF GHANA. This will be a non-profit development with all benefits going to the people of Ghana. Internationally, this would be a very high-visibility project due to the nature of its potential in employment, training and job creation and with its potential for poverty alleviation in a sustainable and non-exploitive manner. This project will empower the people to take control of their own economic destiny, rather than depending on foreign investment and exploitation. We see this four phase project as having the potential to be a model program that could be duplicated in many developing nations. Each phase is a stand alone project but all can be inter-connected for the best final result and maximum economic benefit.
With the offered support of the Ghana Government this project can begin detailed planning and engineering as soon as funding is committed. Upon completion of detailed plans each phase will be competitive bid using local companies wherever possible. Ordering of required equipment and supplies can begin upon acceptance of construction bids that are within our estimated budget. A time line schedule for all phases of development, as well as predicted operation commencement dates, will be completed prior to proceeding with PHASE I. Please direct any questions regarding this proposal to Aloha ECOWAS Development Corporation, Ltd. Attn: John Holliday, at the contact information listed.