Women make up 70 percent of Ghana’s poultry labor force, yet only 7 percent own their own poultry farms. Edith Wheatland, 41, overcame the many cultural barriers that limit women’s access to finance, services, and land rights to launch her own poultry enterprise in Ghana’s Ashanti Region. She saved enough start-up capital while working abroad to return to Ghana in 2013 and open Rockland Farms.
Since 2015, the USDA-funded Ghana Poultry Project has provided Edith’s staff with technical assistance in poultry production, finance and accounting, and business formalization. Rockland Farms now has the capacity for 65,000 chickens.
The project also set up a local outgrower model, in which Rockland Farms provided inputs, such as vaccines and chicken feed, to five other female poultry farmers, who then sold their products directly to Rockland Farms. This model helps female farmers access Ghana’s poultry sector with the goal of boosting its competitiveness and inclusion of marginalized groups.
Edith applied a grant received through the project to expand that number to 10 female farmers. She also hired a farm manager, invested in computers and accounting software to improve financial management, and installed biosecurity infrastructure, such as foot baths, to prevent disease outbreaks.
“After I relocated to Ghana, I realized how fortunate I was . . . I escaped the usual traps of most female agriculture entrepreneurs, [who] keep their businesses in the unending cycle of stunted growth.” — Edith Wheatland