Benedict Kusi Ampofo
- Year Selected: 2016
- Age at selection: 22
- Venture: Project Kiriku
- Country: Ghana
- Sector: Agriculture
Benedict Ampofo, a 4th year medical student in Ghana, has always seen himself as a budding social entrepreneur. Growing up, his sense of responsibility and a desire to impact the world challenged him to do something different. Coming from a low-income family, an itching desire to help families like his sprung forth; he wanted to inspire others. So in his early stages while developing as a philanthropist, his love for agriculture was heightened while visiting Ghanaian farms, thereby birthing Project Kiriku, his demonstration farm in 2014.
Project KIRIKU, a demonstration farm, is designed to create sustainable agricultural communities to minimize poverty by providing requisite skills, knowledge, and innovative technology, helping participating farmers and youth improve their agricultural yield through practice based learning. Working with 3 employees, the 63 currently enrolled farmers– who otherwise may not benefit from practical classroom trainings– are taught a range of sustainable agricultural techniques that can be implemented on their farms. And instead of just giving the participants some classroom knowledge, the demonstration farm enables practical experiential opportunities, empowering small holder farmers and rural youth with relevant skills.
One example of the practical skills the farmers learn is side-grafting for cocoa. This teaches how to take advantage of old shoots without having to cut them down. Many have raised cocoa nurseries, and have learned to plant in rows– an uncommon practice among the participating farmers. He has been so impactful that the chief of the village recommended his organisation, saying that what they used to know in theory has now been applied in practice, and that they have seen it to be useful.
In the next three years, he desires to venture in “ livestock and poultry rearing on an irrigated 20 hectare land with a diverse variety of crops”, so as to serve as a model for farmers interested in sustainable agriculture. By his fifth year, he hopes to have replicated his model in three other communities, setting a precedent for youth and farmers.
Benedict wants to “Teach farmers and rural youth about farming , perfecting their skills and improving their incomes by breaking the poverty cycle to create more sustainable communities.”