Reaching the Base of the Pyramid — and cutting carbon in the process
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Ghana’s per capita income is $31 a week, according to the World Bank. But the roughly 500 female farmers who cultivate and harvest the leaves of moringa oleifera trees in the Tamale region of the West African nation earn five times that amount.
That's because the women supply ground leaves of the nutrient-rich moringa plant to Oakland-based Kuli Kuli Foods, which markets and sells energy bars, teas and nutrition supplement powders made from the "superfood" at stores including Whole Foods.
For the Ghanaian women who work at the beginning of the Kuli Kuli supply chain, skills such as hygienic food processing and packaging have helped both boost the products’ utility in the local market, as well as given them a toehold in the global export market.
The farmers in the cooperative were previously subsistence farmers with very little power. Now, they are exemplary footsoldiers of the "base of the pyramid" model of economic development — a movement to start self-sustaining business operations in impoverished Third World communities.