With increasing population growth in Africa, concerns about food security and nutrition remain higher than ever. Food loss and waste is an especially pressing challenge: An estimated 66% of fruits and vegetables, 40% of root crops and 21% of grains are lost every year. This is a major challenge for the produce industry because of the short lifespan of fruits and vegetables. The more produce is lost, the less food is available, and the less smallholder farmers and local producers – the backbone of the industry – earn.
David Foli Ayivor is an entrepreneur from Ghana who set out to address this challenge. Ayivor established Agromyx in 2017 with a goal of creating a sustainable food future for Ghana and beyond. Agromyx is an instant food company that purchases excess fruits, vegetables, and root crops from 165 smallholder farmers. The produce is then freeze-dried to create shelf-stable cereals and powders. These vitamin- and mineral-rich instant foods and drinks, produced without any additives or preservatives, have a shelf life of over a year. Sold under the brand name Nourimeal, they also do not contain added sugar or artificial flavors.
The rapid growth of Agromyx, which graduated from the Land Accelerator Africa restoration entrepreneur training program, speaks to the company’s ingenuity in its quest to reduce food waste. In the last two years alone, Agromyx saw an increase in annual revenues from 15,700 USD to 70,200 USD. With the additions of new machinery and smallholder farmers, the business is expected to reach net revenues of 120,000 USD in 2021 and 300,000-500,000 USD between 2022 and 2023.
Agromyx currently employs 5 full time staff and 13 part-time employees. They proudly support gender equality and work directly with 112 women farmers and maintain a 50:50 gender balance in the company. Ayivor also engages with local farmers to encourage them to transition away from pesticides and toward agricultural practices that include trees, like agroforestry.
The demand for Nourimeal products in the market and the supply of food waste are both there; now it is a matter of processing capacity. As the business continues to expand, Ayivor’s top priority is to invest in additional machinery. With a $50,000 loan, the company could invest in a new, upgraded set of dehusking, sorting, and cleaning machines that would improve the number of smallholder farmer working with Agromyx, increase production efficiency, and boost the soil health of the company’s partner farmers by converting the leftover husks into rich fertilizer.
Agromyx is also interested in developing smallholder capacity-building programs and training workshops to manage farms sustainably and reduce pesticide use. Ultimately, Agromyx aspires to partner with 35% of the smallholder farmers in Ghana to expand their impact and address food security at a national level.