By Clarissa Heger
Wa, Ghana –
On September 25th, 2014 a crowd of enthusiastic partners and supporters joined the MEDA Ghana team and Mr. Baaro to officially launch the new soybean processing plant in Wa.
“It’s been a dream come true” said Catherine Sobrevega, the Country Project Manager of the MEDA Ghana’s GROW project, during her welcoming address. She explained passionately how MEDA in an effort to grow the soybean value-chain first conceived this idea, and Mr. Baaro, a committed entrepreneur jumped at the opportunity of the partnership. It marks a milestone for the GROW project by linking rural women farmers to another market partner to sell their soybeans.
Mr. Baaro also shared his words of thanks for all the partners, investors and supporters who helped him become the proud new producer of tofu, yoghurt and soymilk. About a year and a half later, with the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (DFATD) of Canada; United States Agency for International Development (USAID) thru their Feed the Future Project – Agriculture Technology Transfer (ATT); Community Aid for Rural Development (CARD) and many more supporters, his and MEDA’s vision has become a reality. He also noted the importance of the support from the Canadian Government and Charles Lauzon from Malnutrition Matters, who traveled to Wa the previous week to train Mr. Baaro, his wife and the staff on the ins and outs of production. Mr. Baaro now plans to target the local Wa market, including school feeding programs, by providing soy products as a notorious and cheap alternative protein source.
Staff from the partner agencies, other organizations such as the Word Food Program (WFP), representatives from hospitality industry, local businesses and local schools, and even a group of passionate MEDA supporters from People Care who came the way from Canada, all offered their heartfelt congratulations and wishes for success. Then it was time to officially open the plant’s doors. Mr. Baaro joined by Gary Leis (MEDA Board of Directors), Helen Loftin (MEDA’s Vice President) and Catherine Sobrevega (MEDA’s GROW Country Project Manager), cut the ribbon to the new plant. Finally a tour of the factory gave supporters a first-hand look of soymilk, yoghurt and tofu production, which was of course followed by some delicious samples of chilled soymilk and tofu skewers.
MEDA will continue to work in partnership with Mr. Baaro to provide tours of the soy processing factory to women lead farmers involved in the GROW project, to allow them to see how their soybeans are being used. Additionally, MEDA will assist Mr. Baaro with his marketing efforts to promote soy products in Wa ensure a healthy growth of demand for soybeans.