Since 2011, AgDevCo has played a project developer role at Babator, to de-risk the project and overcome the challenges specific to developing such a large-scale project in the Northern Region of Ghana (informal land tenure system, unavailability of data on commercial farming operations, supply chain yet to be developed). After several years of project development, AgDevCo has managed to launch a first investment at Babator and to prove that commercial irrigated farming can be developed in Northern Ghana using best practices. The remaining challenges will be to develop a proof-of-concept for a commercially viable irrigated smallholder scheme, and to attract investors and institutional funders to develop the rest of the Babator area.
The Babator Irrigated Farming Hub will be the largest irrigated food production and processing operation in Ghana, with a nucleus farm of c.3,800 ha and a fully-serviced and irrigated ingrower block of c.1,500 ha for c.1,000 small and emergent-scale farmers. Over $4m has been committed to secure a 10,369-hectare land lease with the relevant authorities in a traditional land tenure environment; to conduct detailed technical studies (soils, topography, irrigation engineering), to conduct six seasons of crop trials to show the yield potential of crops that had not been grown commercially in the area; to build a strong relationship with local communities; and to ensure all ESG activities are conducted in line with international best standards. Furthermore, in 2016 AgDevCo built a first 356ha farm which started operations in February 2017. This was a commercial proof-of-concept and AgDevCo is in advanced discussions with a potential partner for a second commercial farm, to be established in 2018.
Crop trials have produced commercial yields across a variety of seeds and growing protocols.
Local communities and land rights owners are engaged in land tenure and land access processes.
Environmental and social impact studies have been conducted.
Credible farming and business plan based on best-of-class technical studies by widely respected experts (Agricane, Soils Inc., SAL Consult, COLANDEF).
Capital raising is underway for ingrower infrastructure.