About PASE Ltd
PDA Agro-Industry and Social Enterprise (PASE) Ltd, a company owned solely by Participatory Development Associates (PDA), has been established as a limited liability company and a social enterprise platform to provide services to rural communities, especially women and young people.
From 2012, PDA had been looking for an opportunity to venture into agri-business, in line with its strategic goal of reaching out to, and improving the wellbeing of those in rural communities in order to help tackle poverty. The opportunity came when the Assemblies of God Credit Union wanted to sell off its palm tree farm on a 55.8 acre land, and its partially completed artisanal palm oil mill, located at Kunsu near Mankranso. Pressed for funds to recapitalise their credit union, our take-over stopped them from succumbing to pressure from some illegal miners in the area who were ready to purchase it for the sole purpose of mining which would have caused irreversible damage to the environment. Since taking over the farm, PASE has had to take stringent measures to stop these illegal miners from encroaching on the land.
Ghana’s methods of nurturing palm oil trees are different from the approaches used elsewhere in the world that have caused palm oil production to have a bad reputation. In Ghana, palm trees are largely integrated within small scale family farms. PDA wanted to support famers to defend this way of producing which is sustainable and small scale farmer friendly.
In 2014, PASE invested US$96,000 to acquire the palm estate and the components of the artisanal mill. With support from the Netherlands funded Sustainable West Africa Palm Project (SWAPP) being implemented by Solidaridad, PASE is installing a GHC950,000 (US$250,000) semi-industrial palm oil processing mill at the site. Presently, a number of farmer groups are being mobilised and being trained in best farm management practices to improve their productivity and yield. Their produce will be purchased to supplement fruits from the PASE plantation to feed the palm oil mill.
As a business and social enterprise, PASE Ltd. will serve as a model within Ghana and contribute to the country becoming one where:
- An increasing number of people who believe in freedom, equality and social justice set up ‘businesses with conscience’ as one of the ways of bringing prosperity to the poor and marginalised;
- Farmers, especially the youth and women, are confident of having a ready market and fair prices for their produce and therefore see primary and secondary agriculture (primary being crop production, animal rearing and fish farming, and secondary being agribusiness, manufacture and maintenance of agricultural inputs and machines) as gainful sources of employment instead of migrating to urban centres in search of work;
- Education is practical and relevant because educational institutions utilise the knowledge, skills, expertise and experience of people and enterprises within their locality;
- Private enterprises in the formal, informal and traditional sectors of the economy use their facilities to benefit educational institutions in the area they operate from;
- University and polytechnic students spend time during vacations working with farmers and applying the scientific and technological knowledge they have acquired to solve challenges facing farmers, resulting in innovations;
- There is a partnership between the public and private sectors in the provision of agricultural extension services, supply of agro-chemicals, and affordable micro-agricultural equipment;
- Agriculture is practiced in an environmentally sustainable manner using organic and integrated pest management practices; and
- The waste from agriculture is used to generate bioenergy for both domestic and economic purposes.
Like the Songhai Centre in the Republic of Benin, from which PASE was inspired, PASE seeks to promote dynamic integrated human development of women and young farmers through the use of local resources. This will be done by simultaneously spurring agricultural production, processing, mechanisation and extension services, and building on indigenous knowledge. This will create ownership of the development process, and of the technical and external technologies, among the people and communities in which PASE operates. PASE will also seek to inspire community-spirited individuals to venture into social enterprises as a sustainable way of empowering the poor and marginalised. The Objectives of PASE Ltd
- A production centre for sustainable, inexpensive and environmentally sound agricultural production.
- An incubation centre for the experimentation and promotion of agricultural technology and good agricultural practices.
- A resource centre for training small-scale farmers, especially the youth, women, and persons with disability, in successful crop production, livestock production and fish farming.
- A research centre in the maximized use of natural products, agricultural production and processing, and in integrated management of plant pests and diseases.
- An extension service centre for making the results from research centres and institutions of higher learning across the country directly available to farmers.
- A renewable energy centre in the utilization of organic waste into bioenergy for domestic and commercial use.
Products and Services
Products and services will be developed in line with the vision, mission and objectives outlined above, as follows:
PASE will be a production centre for sustainable, inexpensive and environmentally sound agricultural production, starting with the manufacture of crude palm oil. Soon after, it plans to use the by-products to produce crude palm kernel oil and palm kernel cake. The latter will be used to feed animals that it plans to keep and the surplus, for sale as animal feed. Five years into production, the company also hopes to produce refined palm oil for human consumption from the crude palm oil. It could also venture into soap making, using the palm kernel oil.
The company’s strategy will be to expand its palm oil production capabilities to serve the communities surrounding Mankranso. Our ultimate objective is to enter the international market. For this reason, the company will expand its production plant gradually, and establish a niche within the community as the most reliable company. It is already in discussion with farmers in the area to come into contractual agreement where PASE will take over the management of their farms so as to secure the produce. In addition, PASE will also acquire more plantation where eventually 50% of raw materials could be sourced from the company’s own estates.
PASE will serve as an incubation centre for the experimentation and promotion of agricultural technology and good agricultural practices. In this regard, it will seek to partner any of the country’s universities which will be interested in having their students (during vacations) spend time with farmers in the catchment area to work with farmers in finding technological solutions to challenges facing them.
Resource, Educational and Training Centre
As a resource centre for training small-scale farmers, especially the youth, women, and persons with disability, in successful crop production, livestock production, and possibly fish farming, PASE will put a scheme in place for students in Junior High Schools (JHS) and Senior High Schools (SHS) in the districts, and possibly beyond, to come on excursions and tours to the farm and the oil mill. Some will be encouraged to come and work during the vacations to gain practical experience. There will also be an apprenticeship scheme to train the out-of school youth. In all these, women and girls will be given preference.
As a research centre for the maximum use of natural products, agricultural production, processing, and in integrated management of plant pests and diseases, PASE will collaborate with interested universities and research institutions.
Renewable Energy Centre
PASE has plans to build a biogas plant which will utilize the waste from its farm and mill, as well as those from other farms and the nearby schools and households to meet its energy needs and to supply the school, if possible. It will also explore and promote other forms of renewable energy.
PASE will provide an extension service to farmers by making the results from research centres and institutions of higher learning across the country directly available to them. PASE will seek development assistance funding to organise farmer field schools (FFS) for farmers within the immediate catchment area. In addition, the company will use such funding to put an input supply scheme in place so that farmers can have access to genuine and affordable inputs, and receive practical training in their application during the FFS