We are twenty-odd Sloan students standing in a moringa field, forming a staggered circle around a young Ghanaian man. The sound of a drone buzzing above us catches our attention, and we turn our eyes towards it, squinting in the midday sunlight as we watch it fly.
Sam Sali—who is extremely young but equally confident—draws our attention back to him. He explains to us that the drone is used to capture thermal images of the field, allowing them to collect time-series data on crop growth patterns and build evidence on the effectiveness of agricultural practices.
Sam, along with two of his college classmates, works at Sesa Mu, a social enterprise that he helped found. Sesa Mu is working to build a cooperative of farmers in the Berekuso region of Ghana and equip farmers with technology and better agricultural methods. All three young men are in their final year at Ashesi University, a private nonprofit liberal arts college, and plan to transition to working full-time at Sesa Mu upon graduation.
I am incredibly inspired by Sesa Mu’s work, and am especially impressed with how passionate and driven the students are in their efforts. They are facing significant hurdles: financial constraints, reluctance and skepticism from farmers, as well as hierarchical challenges in convincing older farmers to buy in to their idea. However, even in the face of all of these obstacles, Sam and his friends have built their idea from the ground up and have managed to enroll 40 farmers in their business.
The company generates revenue by manufacturing and selling smoothies and dried pineapple on campus from pineapples grown by participating farmers. This revenue is then used to create workshops for farmers, where Sesa Mu teaches them new agricultural practices, as well as practical skills like bookkeeping.
Sesa Mu—which means “change” in Akan—is striving to start a youth movement in agriculture. Even though Ghana is an agricultural economy, the new generation—as in most developing countries—wants nothing to do with agriculture and is attracted to higher-paying urban opportunities. Through their work at Sesa Mu, Sam and his friends hope to inspire rural and urban youth to participate in agriculture and make it a profitable endeavor for everyone involved.