Research & innovation
Form Ghana supports innovation and the associated research. In 2009-2010, the company has developed a combined reforestation model based on commercial timber plantations and restoration of degraded forests through so-called Assisted Natural Regeneration. By working with the existing ecological conditions this combined model proves to make nature restoration a cost-efficient element of commercial reforestation. Currently, Form Ghana provides technical assistance to Unilever in commercial production of Allanblackia, an innovative tree crop for the agro-foods sector.
Together with Form international, Form Ghana has been supporting Unilever with the upscaling of Allanblackia production in Ghana since 2010. Allanblackia (AB) is a forest tree species native to many African countries. Seeds of the AB tree can be used to sustainably produce high quality oil, for application in food and non-food products. From 2002 to date, Unilever led the Novella Partnership to develop an AB supply chain based on wild harvesting, but it soon became clear that wild harvesting volumes do not allow broad applications. The partners therefore started a program to increase oil volumes by upscaling production via agroforestry farming in Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria.
|Allanblackia fruits containing seeds||Allanblackia nursery|
Form Ghana Ltd. established and now manages an AB agroforestry demonstration farm (65 ha). It has improved and expanded AB plant production and carried out monitoring and evaluation of AB cultivation and production. Finally, Form Ghana contributed to the development of a sound AB business model and offered training to partners from Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania. With the assistance of Form Ghana it has become clear that there is a promising AB business opportunity, but increased efforts are needed to determine the feasibility of upscaling the AB value chain and production while contributing to poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation and sustainable land use.
In the coming years, Form Ghana will continue to upscale the production of AB and expand the value chain with Unilever and other partners, for example by introducing AB trees in smallholder cocoa farms in Ghana. This enhances the sustainability of cocoa production through shade provision, soil improvement and income diversification. We are dedicated to make AB upscaling a success that benefits smallholder producers in Africa while enhancing sustainable land use and delivering a new commodity to global markets.