Alanima Company Limited is a registered Ghanaian company that seeks to promote and commercialize fonio as a climate-smart nutritious organic cereal in a way that benefits the communities that traditionally grow the grain equitably.
We aim to do so by adopting a smallholder farmer-based value chain approach that integrates and emphasizes the grain’s traditional farming communities with regards to crop production, brand identity (marketing) and, ultimately, ownership in the final product.
We believe that such as a smallholder farmer-based approach can ultimately help realize fonio’s commercial potential to contribute to regional rural socio-economic development, peace building, food & nutrition security, and sustainable land use in the context of climate change.
Our vision is to provide a platform that invites people to experience our story of a fonio cultivated to transform diets, lives, and communities.
Our mission is to supply fonio to the world with an integrated value chain that connects consumers to fonio farmers through an interactively shared appreciation of the grain’s life-changing benefits.
In 2018, ALANIMA started working with 122 farmers from the district of Chereponi, one of Ghana’s main fonio-producing areas, to cultivate 143 acres (58 ha) of fonio.
Prior to independence, the district had a history of growing fonio, but due to the ease of growing other grains like corn, rice and groundnuts (peanuts), fonio production decreased but never lost its significance.
Many of the farmers only grew enough fonio for their households, which wasn’t significant because of the tedious traditional preparation process, and could not guarantee any extra capacity for trade because of a lack of consistent demand.
To be sure, subsistence farming is the mainstay of the people in Chereponi who consist of about six main ethnic groups, including the Konkombas, Fulanis, and the Chokosis, known as the Anufors.
THE SAASU PROJECT
With the blessing and support of the District Assembly and the traditional Chief, we ultimately decided with the farmers across the district of Chereponi to work with them in organizing their fonio production through the development of community-based groups called Fonio Farming Communities (FFC).
These are centralized, managed and promoted by a district Fonio Farming Association (FFA) that works together with us in processing, presenting and distributing their fonio to the world. Our first fonio farming venture is the Chereponi Fonio Farming Association (CHEFFA).
This relationship between ALANIMA, the FFAs (CHEFFA) and its FFCs is an essential aspect of the Saasu project. Towards the end of 2018, however, violent clashes between the Konkombas and the Chokosis erupted over an old land dispute between tribal families in the area that seriously affected our farmers in Chereponi.
It is in that context that the project is named Saasu; as a testament to our belief that fonio can help people around the world not only reconcile with themselves through healthier and more nutritious diets, or with nature through biological farming but also with their neighbors through shared enterprise and profitable cooperation.
Chereponi District, North East Region, Ghana