March 14th 2018 - Ekrawfo - Visit Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, Ron Strikker

Yesterday the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Republic of Ghana, Mr. Ron Strikker and his wife together with his first secretary Mr. Thierry Helder visited our farm in Ekumfi Ekrawfo. It was a true pleasure to meet them and talk about our Cluster Farming project in Ghana.

They were very impressed by the setup of our farm and the Cluster Farming approach and expressed their interest to assist us in getting noticed to a wider public, since they are the opinion that our approach is working and will be beneficial to Ghana’s fisheries and poultry sector.

November 9th 2017 - Ekrawfo - School visit Master's Acadamy Ekumfi Ekrawfo

As a company that believes in capacity building, Cluster Farming's doors are always open to students and the general public who want to familiarize themselves with our operations and satisfy their intellectual curiosity. The 9th of November, 2017 we welcomed a group of students from Master’s Academy in Ekumfi Ekrawfo to visit our farm for a fieldtrip excursion.

The kids were guided on the tour by students from the University of Cape Coast and National Service persons who are currently working with the company.

The group was taken to three main sites in the company; the catfish hatchery, the catfish breed stock ponds and the chick hatchery.
At the catfish hatchery, the students were enlightened on the operations at the hatchery, right from how the eggs are stripped to when the catfish develop to fingerling stage.

The group proceeded to the green house (where juveniles and table size catfish are housed), the students were taken through the cultural practices that are undertaken until the fish reaches maturity, such as pond cleaning, feeding according to their sizes, and water maintenance processes.
The last stop of the group was the chick hatchery where they were briefed on the principles underlining the operation of the incubators and hatchers, it was linked to how the local hen covers their eggs providing heats and other conditions for hatching. The tour ended at the packaging room, and was climaxed by a question and answer section.

September 18th 2017 - Ekrawfo - Poultry training of PUM senior expert Mr. Carel Neervoort

This week, Mr. Carel Neervoort, a senior expert in the field of poultry hatching and slaughtering visited us to advise us on our chick hatching program and to give some teachings to the UCC students. His expertise gave us some more detailed insight on the hatching process and it was very pleasant to hear that our hatchery meets the standards needed to supply good quality day old chicks for the Ghanaian market.

During a presentation with the focus on hatchery practice, Mr. Carel Neervoort explained all ins and outs to the UCC students, Cluster Farming staff and veterinarians invited by us. At the end of the presentation there was time for discussions on the topics and it was good to see that the audience was eager to learn more about chick hatching and poultry rearing in general.

September 8th 2017 - Ekrawfo- Students University of Cape Coast - work on farm

This week, the students appointed for their internship and National Service duty at our Hub Farm, started their assignment at Ekrawfo. One of the first tasks they had to learn was the catfish hatching cycle. They started early in the morning with the injection of the catfish. Stripping of the female catfish,. fertilization and dividing of the eggs has been executed with the whole group on the same day at evening time.

Another important part of aquaculture fish farming is ensuring the water quality and grading of the catfish in the ponds. This is hard work and the team made sure that they used the correct working gear to be protected against the water.

                 

We assisted the students through all the steps necessary to execute their task successfully and look forward to work together with these young enthusiastic people who are eager to work in the field of agriculture / aquaculture.

 August 30th 2017 - Cape Coast - Cape Coast University signs MoU with Cluster Farming

The University of Cape Coast, UCC, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Cluster Farming Holding Limited (CFH), The purpose of the MoU is to establish a mutually beneficial relationship which will stimulate cooperation and strengthen research, teaching and outreach to promote development, broaden experiences and promote sharing of knowledge and understanding amongst staff and students of UCC and workers and management of CFH.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah, signed for UCC, whilst the Managing Director of CFH, Mr. Gerrit Valkenburg, initialed for CFH. The MoU shall among others allow students of the School of Agriculture to do attachments at CFH for the purpose of practical training and collection of data for their projects. The MoU permits the students to visit the CFH Farms during field trips and also facilitates UCC staff and students to collect data from the Farm for research purposes.

    

Present at the signing ceremony were the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. George K. T. Oduro; Registrar, Mr. John Kofi Nyan and the Dean School of Agriculture Prof. Elvis Asare Bediako. Others were the Head, Department of Agriculture Economics & Extension; Prof. Festus Annor-Frimpong; Head, Department of Animal Science, Head, Department of Soil Science, Prof. B. A. Osei; Dr. Julius Hagan; Head, Department of Crop Science, Dr. (Mrs.) Grace C. van der Puije and Coordinator, Technology Village, Dr. Kwame Agyei Frimpong.

The complete text can be read on the UCC website through the following link.

 August 3rd 2017 - Cape Coast - GSAP Conference - Food Security

Last week we were invited to speak at the 20th biennial conference of the Ghana Society of Animal Production (GSAP) at the Sasakawa Centre, University of Cape Coast. The theme for the conference was “Positioning the animal industry to achieve food security role of stakeholders”. During this conference the Minister of Food and Agriculture launched the “rearing of animals for food and jobs” program.

  

Many people from the animal and food industry attended this conference, there were even organizations from Nigeria. All of them reacted enthusiastic to the Cluster Farming approach and after our presentation we had the pleasure to get in contact with many of them.

  July 14th 2017 - Accra - MoFA assists Cluster Farming

Last Thursday, 13th July 2017 we had the honour to receive a written confirmation from MoFA – Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Official handover of this document to Gerrit Valkenburg was done by Seth Mensa Dumoga, Legal Director of MoFA.

This document assures MoFA’s full support in all our activities in the area of catfish farming, production of broiler chicken and the production of fish-/ poultry feed and has been drafted in accordance with Hon. Minister of MoFA, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the Chief Director of MoFA, Mr. Benjamin K. Gyasi and the Legal Director of MoFA, Mr. Seth Mensa Dumoga.
 
The main focus points are in line with the Ghana Government program “One District – One Factory” for the creation of jobs, agricultural training and skill development for the youth and providing locally available food.

 
 

June 1st 2017 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo - Collaboration University of Cape Coast Part 2


As a follow up on the presentation held by Gerrit Valkenburg at the UCC on 25th May last all faculty heads, deans, academic counselors and registration officers, led by Dr. William Ghartey visited the Hub farm on 1st June last to discuss the opportunities of the extended collaboration in detail. The UCC expressed that they want to extend the collaboration for a period of at least 5 years and besides internships in the fields of aquaculture and poultry farming on the Hub farm, they also will assist us with the placement of candidates for the National Service Scheme. At time, they even want to setup a Satellite farm on campus for the production of catfish and chicken.

May 25th 2017 - Cape Coast / Ekumfi Ekrawfo - Collaboration University of Cape Coast

We have been in contact with the University of Cape Coast (UCC) for a longer period of time. Already in 2016 we had the pleasure to work with the first 3 interns from the Fisheries and Aquatic Science faculty and this year, after a number of meetings at the UCC and visits from them to our Hub farm, it has been decided to extend the collaboration.

Gerrit Valkenburg has held a presentation at the UCC Sasakawa Center on 25th May last, explaining the Cluster Farming approach for a large number of students from the Agricultural and Aquacultural faculties and all faculty heads and deans.

August 31st 2016 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo - NYC Benin visits Hub Farm

This Wednesday, a delegation from the National Youth Council of Benin led by Loukman Aziz Tidjani, Cooperation and Partnership secretary of NYC Benin, paid a fact-finding visit to our Hub Farm in Ekumfi Ekrawfo. The NYC Benin came to Ghana on invitation by Magriet Reinders from MDF West Africa.

The visit afforded the group the chance to see the work being done by Cluster Farming in the areas of aquaculture, animal breeding and handling of crops. The group was very impressed and showed a lot of interest in the way Cluster Farming built and manages the farm. Discussions on how to setup such a farm in Benin and a possible collaboration with Cluster Farming already started during the tour. We truly enjoyed this enthusiasm and are very keen on assisting these young entrepreneurs in their endeavors.

       

August 16th 2016 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo - Internship students Cape Coast Uni

We, Freda Tafoa and Florence Dzidzor Fleku are very excited to have had our internship with Cluster Farming in Ekrawfo. We graduated from the University of Cape Coast and pursued Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and it was very crucial for us to gain a practical experience in aquaculture with regards to what we studied at school. Cluster Farming has unique aquaculture facilities which help in carrying out scientific research and gaining more experience, and it can boast of a variety of fish holding equipment consisting of raceways, concrete and earthen ponds as well as wonderful hatchery systems for both catfishes and tilapia. Their hospitality toward students and outsiders is superb. In our opinion Cluster Farming is considered the best training center for students of fisheries and aquatic sciences. In fact, we have never regretted working with Cluster Farming.

July 1st 2016 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo - Progress rebuilding fish houses

Since the storm in March demolished 3 of our fish houses we have worked hard to rebuild everything. Two of the three damaged fish houses are now completely renovated. We have chosen to merge both fish houses since the breeding ponds are exclusively used for catfish and with this decision we also save on the costs for the shading nets and fencing poles.

The breeding ponds in the third fish house are exclusively used for the cultivation of tilapia and we have chosen to cover the separate ponds with lockable hatches instead of constructing a complete fence around the fish house.

June 29th 2016 - Almere (the Netherlands) - Social Impact for Ekrawfo

Together with a dedicated team of specialists; SUS Urbanism - a Dutch urban design company -, GFSC – consultants in sustainable business development - and Ghana Travel Service BV we are working on a project with the aim to improve the economic situation in the Ekumfi region by developing the food industry as catalyst for employability in the region. Today we have discussed the latest developments and we are the opinion that we are able to execute the plan on very short notice......read more


March 31st 2016 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo- Nature's Power building progress

We already mentioned in our newsflash of last week that we will not put our head down and we are sticking to this! It has been one week now since our misfortune and we are working hard to clear all the fish houses. The plan for the new construction is ready and this time we will use solid steel for the frame!

Everyone at the farm is giving its best to ensure that the fish houses will be ready again for breeding and hatching in due course!


March 23rd 2016 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo- Nature's Power

We came a long way since the flood in June 2015; we constructed better and larger canals to handle the rain and a large part of the outside ponds are repaired and the rest is under repair. The catfish hatchery is running on full gear and orders for fingerlings are piling up!

…..but for some reason nature is still putting its tricks on us! Due to the climate changes the rain is coming soon this year and last night it even came with extreme heavy gusts of wind and these have destroyed the top construction of three of our fish houses completely!

We will not put our head down and will do whatever is necessary and already started to remove the constructions, so that we can start with the reconstruction.


February 3rd 2016 - Tema / Ekumfi Ekrawfo- Feed production line

You really need to be very resilient to get your stuff from the port in Ghana, especially the Tema port. It took us more than 2 weeks, but we succeeded. The feed processing line arrived this Wednesday at the Hub Farm in Ekrawfo. Now we can start building the necessary platforms in order to install the processing line and execute the first test runs. With this processing line we will be able to produce a variety of animal feed and floating fish feed. Production can go up to 350 kg per hour, so a monthly production up to 55 ton of feed is feasible.

January 21st 2016 - Tema / Ekumfi Ekrawfo- Chicken Incubators

Finally, after tiresome discussions with the port- and customs authorities at the port of Tema we managed to get the full load of incubators, hatchery cabinets and other material for our chicken hatchery at our Hub Farm in Ekrawfo. The setter and hatcher room are almost completed, so we can start with the installation and setup of the machines for our first test runs in due course.

 January 2016 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo- Start Tilapia Hatchery

Since the end of December 2015 we now also have a Tilapia hatchery and can therefore start with a controlled breeding of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). The capacity of the hatchery is 750,000 fingerlings per month, all of which will be sold on the local market.

December 21st 2015 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo- Progress Chick Hatchery

The construction of our chick hatchery on the Hub Farm in Ekrawfo continues and so far we have been making good progress. If all goes well according to our planning we strongly believe that we can start with the first breed in February 2016.

The layout for the hatchery has been established in cooperation with Het Anker Kuikenbroederij, and gives us the opportunity to expand our capacity over time. Het Anker Kuikenbroederij will be our supplier for the breeding eggs and with their expert advice we will build a chick hatchery that meets all requirements for a professional hatchery.

August 2015 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo- Progress Reconstruction Canalisation

The work to improve the canalization on and around the Hub Farm is still in full swing and we are convinced that the measures we have taken to ensure that a flood, such as the one of last June will no longer be an issue for us.

     

June 4th 2015 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo- Flood Hub Farm - in retrospect

The heavy rainfalls in May and June of 2015 will be on our mind for a long time. We are aware of nature’s power during the rain season in Ghana and, thanks to all the precautions, canal digging and large water reservoirs we have faced the water with success for the last years.

….But this year nature, unfortunately has won the battle. The volume of water coming down from the sky was so extreme that even our canals and water reservoirs flooded. We lost over 350,000 catfish fingerlings and a large part of our brood stock due to this excess of water. Sales were growing strong, but without stock there is not much to sell.

The following video will give you an idea about our misfortune, or as we say “misery”.



This setback will not be our downfall. We started immediately with a massive clean-up  operation and all canals, reservoirs and other precautions have been made bigger, better and stronger. New catfish brood stock has been purchased and our hatchery is running on full power. The first ponds are filled with fingerlings and sales are back on track.

 May 7th 2015 - Utrecht (the Netherlands) - Chances for aquaculture in Ghana

Last Thursday evening we were at a theme night organized by Wageningen UR (IMARES and LEI), NABC-GNBCC and PSD/RFO. A small but select group received a presentation based on a study by Bas Bolman and Eugene Rurangwa of Wageningen UR. All in all a well organized and successful evening where we got the chance to share our Ghana experiences with like-minded people in the field of aquaculture.

May 4th 2015 - Bladel (the Netherlands) - Incubators for chicks

Today we had a great meeting at Kleinvee Service in Bladel, the Netherlands. They will supply us with the incubators and breeding cabinets for the breed of chicks at our Hub Farm in Ghana. The product line is fully fabricated with high standard materials which are made in the Netherlands and can stand the African climate. Kleinvee Service already exported a high volume of products for the breed of chickens to Africa and are therefore are well experienced in this field. Next to this they will assist us with training and setup of the machines.

March 27th 2015 - Eklumfi Ekrawfo - New catfish ponds

The last couple of months we have been busy with the refurbishment of our existing catfish ponds and the construction of 3 new ponds with a length of 50 metres. These new ponds are used for the catfish brood stock and enable us to grow up to 600,000 catfish fingerlings each 7 weeks.

March 27th 2015 - Eklumfi Ekrawfo - Catfish sales

The first 33,000 fingerlings are now ready for sales to a local client and we are in the final negotiation phase with a Nigerian sales agency to expand our catfish fingerlings sales to Nigeria, where they will be cultivated to table size catfish for the local market. Nigeria has got a population of 170 million people and catfish is the main fish protein consumed. The country produces about 600,000 tons of fish annually, but there is a shortfall of 900,000 tons to meet the local demand.

 

March 27th 2015 - Eklumfi Ekrawfo - Facelift Hub Farm

The Hub Farm in Ekrawfo is getting an extensive facelift. All sheds, greenhouses and fishpond exteriors have been painted and maintenance of machinery, pumps, electrics and buildings is up to a high standard.

March 27th 2015 - Eklumfi Ekrawfo - update Grasscutters

Currently we have a Grasscutter brood stock of 56 females and 28 males. There are 6 females with cubs, 24 in total and we expect that all females will have a litter around June this year.

December 5th 2014 - Gomoa Asssin - Cluster Farming wins award

Honorary. Hanny-Sherry Ayitey, Member of Parliament for the area together with other dignitaries were there to witness the celebration when Cluster Farming took out the best Fish Farmer award at the 30th National Farmers And Fishers Day Celebration held in Gomoa Assin on December 5, 2014.

November 4th 2014 - Ekunfi Ekrawfo - First oil palm seedlings in nursery Africa Product Development Ltd

Cluster Farming has planted the first 20,000 oil palm seedlings “Elaeis Guineensis” for Africa Product Develepment Ltd in the newly build nursery in Ekumfi Ekrawfo.

November 3rd 2014 - Ekunfi Ekrawfo - Cluster Farming Hub in Togo

In April 2015 Cluster Farming starts with building a Hub Farm for an entrepreneur in Togo. This is an independent company who will introduce the Cluster Farming concept to the market in Togo. In addition to the construction of the farm Cluster Farming will train the Togolese employees on the Hub Farm in Ekrawfo to make a success out of this new venture. We take pride in the fact that our Cluster Farming concept has rapidly found a place in the African market.


May 27th 2014 - Ekunfi Ekrawfo - Grasscutters arrived at the Hub Farm

Today the first parentstock of Grasscutters arrived at the Hub Farm in Ekrawfo, a total of 10 males and 40 females. We expect to have aroud 200 young ones within this year.


May 20th 2014 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo - Establishment of palmoil nursery for Africa Product Development

Our Cluster Farming Organization has been contracted by Africa Product Development Limited to build a nursery with the capacity of 200,000 palm seedlings. The project will start in May, 2014 at the Hub Farm in Ekrawfo. The whole project is to establish a new primary and secondary nursery with a drip irrigating system.

The Project is a sustainable palm oil nursery consisting of “Elaeis Guineensis” fast-growing palm trees whose fruits can be harvested in just 5 years.

Cluster Farming will be responsible for the whole operation, thus controlling the nursery, acquisition of planting material, as well as the recruitment and training of labour.

May 17th 2014 - Ekunfi Ekrawfo - Pomi d'Oro - high quality tomatoes

Tomato is a fabulous nutritious fruit known as a vegetable. It's hard to believe that such a widely-used food source was once considered deadly poisonous. Available year-round in fresh and preserved forms, there is no shortage of uses for this versatile "vegetable".

Tomato is native to western South America and Central America. Most likely the first variety to reach Europe was yellow in color, since in Spain and Italy they were known as pomi d'oro, meaning yellow apples. Italy was the first to embrace and cultivate the tomato outside South America.
Cluster Farming organization knowing this little history decided to go into high quality pomi d'oro production thereby bringing in a specialist from Italy to help achieve this goal. Work started on the 30th of November, 2013, there were up’s and down in the first two months but things started getting better in the month afterwards.

Today cluster farming organization is proud to say that our Italian tomato is shooting up very well and we expect to harvest our first fruit in the middle of June 2014.

January 27th 2014 - Ekunfi Ekrawfo - Green Ponds project inauguration

On Monday the 27th of January, 2014, Cluster Farming inaugurated a brand-new concept; “Harvesting of fish made easier” during the Green Ponds Project Inauguration. The main objective of the project is to make circulation of water in and out of surface concrete ponds and harvesting easy with less energy and labor respectively.

By means of this new GREEN PONDS water flows in from a high stream and out from a low stream into a reservoir through a natural filtering system and the process repeated in order to provide quality water for the fish at all time.

The ponds bring together existing technology that is very familiar to surface concrete pond designers and provides a novel solution that can reduce the amount of water required significantly and makes harvesting three times  easy.

December 6th 2013 – Esseuhyia– Cluster Farm wins award

Honorary. Abeiku Crentsil, Member of Parliament for the area together with other dignitaries were there to witness the celebration when Cluster Farming took out the best Aquaculture award at the 2013 National Farmers And Fishers Day Celebration held in Essuehyia on December 6, 2013. Held at the park of Essuehyia Assembly as part of the 29th National Farmers And Fisher’s Day Celebration, the company won the award for its innovative use of water to improve the overall production of animal husbandry, fish farming, vegetables and fruit.

Judged by a selection of the Assembly’s Executive members, one of the judges, Honorary Ibrahim Dawson (District Chief Executive), on presenting the award said the panel was impressed how the company has integrated vegetables and fish production in one technology (Aquaponics), including livestock management system to improve the agriculture needs of the country. “It is extremely satisfying to receive this award as pioneers of the new agriculture revolution as well for the palm oil plantations as  for the Cluster Farming in Ghana” said Mr. Gerrit A. Valkenburg, CEO of the company.

November 8th 2013 - Ekumfi Ekrawfo - Visit to Cluster Farms

On the 8th of November this year, a delegation from the Ghana Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security Platform led by the chairman, Dr. Ebenezer Karbo paid a fact-finding visit to the Cluster Farm at Ekumfi Ekrawfo in the Central Region of Ghana.

The platform is set up by the government of Ghana to enhance climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector in rural communities in Ghana through the exchange of information and the group undertakes such visits to ascertain the various climate change adaptation innovation practices undertaken by rural farmers and farming organisations. The visit afforded the group the chance to see the work being done by Cluster Farming in the areas of aquaponics, animal breeding and green housing. The group was very impressed and showed a lot of interest in the way Cluster Farming built the farm according to the climate change regulations and free range animal housing.