The tractors and other agricultural equipment were sourced and reonovated by students from Riseholme Agricultural College, Lincoln, before being packed in a container and shipped to Ghana. The container eventually arrived at the project in Tamale on Christmas Day.
The open grasslands and circular mud huts with thatched roofs that most people associate with Africa are typical of the rural north of Ghana. Extended families live in large compound houses, with all activities being carried out communally. Most farming is at a subsistance level, with any excess produce sold at market.
Although poverty is evident everywhere, there is an increasing amount of mechanisation, particularly with Massey Ferguson and Ford tractors. These are often hired to help with the heavy jobs like ploughing and haulage of building materials, as well as maize shelling. We have therefore exported a shipping container with two second-hand tractors and associated agricultural equipment and set up an agricultural contracting business in northern Ghana. The income generated from this equipment helps to subsidise the vocational training projects as they work towards economic self-sufficiency.
At present most of the income is generated by renting out the tractors with a plough and driver. This generates income for a limited time period. Maize shellers would increase the income generating potential. These are manufactured locally, and can be purchased for £900 each.
Our Ghanaian sister charity has farms in two areas. One surrounds the training centre in Tamale, and one lies just outside the southern city of Kumasi. Project Cornerstone has been able to fund the planting of around 1100 mango trees on these sites, adding to the income generated in Ghana.
Additonally, the land is used to grow seasonal cash crops and food for the students, reducing the running costs of the training centre.