Moses Yangnemenga, a recent graduate from the Ashesi Class of 2018, is a Kuulpeep who is changing the lives of farmers in his community, in the Upper West Region of Ghana.
His Tieme Ndo project seeks to provide farmers with fertilizers to increase their crop yield.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi caught up with him to find out more about the project.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: Hello! Moses. How are you doing Mr Farmer?
Moses Yangnemenga: laughs* I am going good by His Grace. Thank you for having me.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: You are most welcome. How long has Tieme Ndo been in existence? And have you encountered any setbacks during that period and how have you overcome them?
Moses Yangnemenga: Growing up, I have been involved in farming till today. So, I have witnessed my parents and the rest of the farmers in my community work very hard on their farms, but harvest comes little every year. This made it difficult for them to feed their families and also sell for an income.
However, when I travelled to Accra for the first time, I saw the differences in crop yields. And I realized that farmers in my community often do not use improved farm inputs like fertilizer and new seeds because they do not have the capital to pay upfront for these inputs.
This became apparent to me in 2016 when I returned home from school to do my summer internship with GN bank. That year, my parents cultivated an acre of maize and as I mentioned earlier, they didn’t have the cash to buy fertilizer and seeds. Later, I got some money from my internship which I used to buy the fertilizer. However, the plants have outgrown the fertilizer application stage so we had low yield like 2bags. This was very small to feed my entire family and possibly sell for income.
This got me thinking about how to give rural farmers timely access to fertilizer and seeds even if they don’t have the cash to pay upfront. So, the idea giving farmers fertilizer and seeds on credit came to mind.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: What does the name Tieme Ndo mean?
Moses Yangnemenga: Tieme Ndo means “push me up” in Dagaare (local dialect). I got inspired by the concept of Ubuntu in my social theory class at Ashesi.
So at Tieme Ndo, we create a support system by putting farmers into groups where they meet every month to discuss the challenges and successes on their farms. They learn from each other’s successes and mistakes.
We have been in operation for a year. We started last year, May.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: Wow… that’s nice… What about the challenges… you must have encountered a lot.
Moses Yangnemenga: Challenges on the side of farmers: Low yields due to poor rains and access to tractors to plough lands on time and the fall armyworms infestations, among others. On the side of Tieme Ndo: we have late delivery of inputs to farmers because, the government is delaying with the issue of coupons for fertilizer, we have slow credit repayment, limited funds and accessing favourable markets for our farmers to sell their produce.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: Is the initiative just yours?
Moses Yangnemenga: Laughs* It’s ours. My partner is called Sihle, he lives in eSwatini (Swaziland). Everything started with me. But what matters now is getting the idea running properly to touch many lives
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: What motivates you guys to do what you do
Moses Yangnemenga: As mentioned earlier, I grew up farming all my life and I saw the toils people go through on the farm. So, my motivation is to contribute to improving the economic activities of my people, which is mainly agriculture.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: We are curious here… how many farmers have benefited from this initiative?
Moses Yangnemenga: Over 400 farmers. 162 of them are on our Credit Extension Package, and the remaining 240 are served on cash basis.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: That’s a lot of lives you have touched there. Will you undertake this project after you graduate from Ashesi. And will Sihle be in Ghana during the running of the initiative or will he be going back to Swaziland?.
Moses Yangnemenga: Yes! I’m going to work on it full time after NSS. But in case I get a part-time job, I will take it. The business is already running. Sihle is currently in eSwatini but supports in many ways like blogging and ideas. He is currently going to represent Tieme Ndo at One Young World Summit in the Netherlands. I’m sure he will definitely come to Ghana when he gets the opportunity.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: Have you won any awards or gotten any recognition for your incredible work?
Moses Yangnemenga: Yes….we won 20,000 USD from D-prize foundation, a San Francisco based NGO. And the initiative was awarded US$ 3,000 from The Ford Foundation in partnership with Ashesi University.
Kuulpeeps Ashesi: Wow… impressive. We are really glad you are serving your society in the best possible way you can. Congrats.
Moses Yangnemenga: Thanks. I am humbled.