ORGANIC FARMING & DEVELOPMENT – ELIZABETH ASANA

CASE STUDY: Elizabeth Asana, a farmer supported by Community Self Reliance Centre (CSRC) under the Economic Development Programme.

In March 2010, CSRC started supporting Elizabeth Asana; an aspiring nursery owner with establishing her own nursery. She had no knowledge or training in nursery establishment, but she did have an abundance of interest and passion for trees and the general environment, as well as a great belief in herself.

In just 1 year and with the support of CSRC through attending one of their two day training sessions, and ongoing general advice, Elizabeth now has a thriving nursery of 15,000 grafted Mango Seedlings!

She developed an innovative way of collecting the number of seeds required for this number of plants. Elizabeth’s Nursery, where she also has a guesthouse and small restaurant is opposite a school, which has a number of large mango trees in the grounds. Elizabeth noticed the children loved mangos and after eating them would just throw the stone on the ground, so Elizabeth approached the school to see if they could collect the mango stones for her, and she would give 1Ghanian Cedi (Ghc) (about 40p) for every 100 stones collected. They were delighted at this offer, as it had the added benefit of helping to keep the school grounds clean.

Elizabeth estimates her total outlay per seedling is 3Ghc, and she sells each seedling for 5Ghc.

Her current biggest challenge is water. As she is in the town, she has to rely on piped water, which is very expensive. She also faced challenges with men who did not take her seriously and didn’t believe a woman could establish a nursery, however in an incredibly short space of time she has proved all her doubters wrong, and has plans for expansion.

Elizabeth hopes to be able to buy more land and would like to diversify into other fruit trees,

including oranges, which are not commonly grown in the north, but due to the soil and climate are much sweeter than usual. She would also like to grow bananas and plantain, and diversify into small livestock, such as goats and sheep.

Much of Elizabeth’s success can be attributed to her belief in her own abilities and that anything men can do, women can do just as well, in addition to her innovative nature.

She is one CSRC’s recent stand out success stories from the Sustainable Livelihood project and CSRC hope to bring other women who are interested in establishing nurseries to Elizabeth’s nursery to show it can be done, and to inspire more women to develop their own businesses.