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WhatIf Foods Ghana

Turning magic beans into a product and a force for good
WhatIf Foods Ghana

WhatIF Foods (WIF) and Pond Foundation are collaborating to build a regenerative, 21st-century supply chain in the Northern Region of Ghana.

In Northern Ghana, The Pond Foundation and WhatIF Foods have partnered with local businesses (Kasima Ltd), local farmers and their lands to build a regenerative, 21st-century supply chain for Bambara groundnut. Bambara is a legume and is an under-utilised local crop which has a myriad of benefits including nitrogen fixing properties, a great nutritional profile (high protein, high fibre), the ability to bring life back to degraded soils and the promotion of agro-biodiversity and biodiversity. Until now, there’s never been an export market for Bambara so it is slowly becoming locally extinct as farmers prioritise growing other crops for international markets. It has a very short vegetative growth cycle, copes with poor, degraded soils and low and intermittent rainfall, and is not reliant on capital-intensive inputs, including harmful fertilisers and pesticides. This makes Bambara a great, climate-resilient alternative to traditional crops that can augment farmer income. And…it’s predominantly grown by women. WhatIF has pioneered the use of Bambara in a variety of terrific foods like its ‘BamNut’ milk and noodles and this is providing an exciting impetus to get Bambara back into the agricultural landscape, bringing life back to soils and communities. We’re working in the field in Ghana with our fantastic local partner companies and farmers to build the supply of regenerative Bambara for WhatIF’s products. Aside from the beans, the Bambara shells make the perfect feedstock for biochar. We’re introducing a biochar carbon farming approach that will lock large amounts of carbon dioxide in the soils of our partner farmers. Biochar is a great soil amendment too and we expect this inexpensive, circular economy approach will help improve farmers’ yields and the overall health of their soils. WIF’s goal is to remove all its lifetime carbon emissions from the atmosphere by insetting it into its own supply chain, while creating impactful, positive environmental impacts.

Field of Bambara Groundnuts growing

This project is made possible by the partnership between WIF,  Pond Foundation, our business partners in Ghana, and most importantly, the Ghanaian farmers. Meaningful, trusting partnerships are crucial to this project and are perceived as much more valuable than donations. This project relies on the support of 50 trained community facilitators, 15 field officers, experts from local universities and partners who are all working closely together to ensure WIF's success. In 2022, the pilot year of the project, 956 smallholder farmers have partnered with WIF, and 14 metric tons of Bambara seeds have already been planted. This figure is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.

There is a strong focus on working towards a regenerative economy. To ensure this, farmers are treated with the respect they deserve and are paid the fair price for every kg of good quality beans and the carbon from the Bambara shell. WIF have also committed to '1% for the Planet' where The Pond Foundation will receive 1% of WIF’s revenue to improve the wellbeing of partner communities. This will go towards primary healthcare, infrastructure, and education as these are the areas WIF believes to be vital to generating quality harvests and thriving communities.

Learn more on WhatIF Foods’ website, and follow our project journey on LinkedIn!