Pure, Just and Sustainable Fruits
Introduced by a mutual friend, Yvette and Emmanuel teamed up to address what they identified as a disadvantage to the Ghanaian fruit industry. Much of the value was added outside of the country, which was neither just nor profitable to indigenous farmers. So Yvette and Emmanuel came together to create Yvaya Farm, a brand that serves the community it comes from, serves the world, and creates a global awareness of the amazing creativity and capacity of Ghanaian entrepreneurs in agribusiness. The business partners pride themselves on keeping everything sustainable, pure and above all natural in the entire Yvaya Farm supply chain: their dried fruits use no sulfites, inorganic chemicals or additives and they pay their farmers a fair and competitive price. In this way they are able to achieve their goal of being just to the earth, from which all good things come.
When did you start your business?
We began operations in May 2016 out of [Yvette’s] mom’s kitchen. Emmanuel and I were introduced by a mutual friend and business advisor back in 2017 and both quickly realized we could work way better together than apart and in competition. Since we’ve been working together we’ve grown from 3 farmers and 6 employees to, today, 10 farmers in 3 regions of Ghana, employing 14 people (all under 35, 70% of whom are women).
Why did you start?
Yvette: After noticing that our fruit industry was being under-served – much of its value being taken advantage of outside the country – we decided to start Yvaya Farm. Our dream is to create a brand that serves the community it comes from, serves the world, and creates a global awareness of the amazing creativity and capacity of Ghanaian entrepreneurs in agribusiness. Emmanuel: I realized in my second year in university that there was enormous opportunities in agribusiness and decided to explore.
What motivates you to keep going?
Yvette: This business makes complete sense. And it has so much potential. Agro-processing is uniquely well positioned to reduce the rural-urban development divide and tackle climate change. We work to have a direct economic impact on farming communities by increasing demand for agricultural produce and thus raising incomes. Our relationship to farmers means we can directly incentivize and support organic farming that protects the environment. The relief program can provide the working capital we need to protect our capacity to process and continue our impact. Also, I’m constantly motivated by my peers in industry. They’re super inspiring and I want to be a part of their community. Emmanuel: When I am able to impact lives in a positive way.
What do you wish people knew about your business?
Yvette: Often times people think we have a way bigger team than we actually do because we work hard to be professional. This is very flattering, but I think people would go easier on us if they knew. Sometimes I have people calling my phone 3 times in a row because I didn’t respond to an email they sent the same day. Welp. Emmanuel: That our staff is made of 70% women and that we are aiming to run a climate smart zero waste business.
What the first thing you do when you wake up?
Yvette: Honestly…look at my phone lol. But then I have an awesome routine. Aloe Vera and Sea Moss gel shot for health. 10 mins yoga stretch. 15 mins run. 15 mins swim if I can squeeze it in. Coffeeeeeeee. Emmanuel: I take my phone to check the time and thank God.
What is your favorite detoxing regimen?
Yvette: I do a weekly 20 hour fast from Sunday to Monday. Emmanuel: Warm lime juice with honey and ginger.
What are you most grateful for?
Yvette: My health. Also my friends. Emmanuel: Life and family.
What’s the last thing you do before you go to sleep?
Yvette: Um… my phone. But I try and read maybe 5 pages before sleep. Sometimes I allocate a few mins just for day-dreaming and pondering…But I fall asleep easily, so usually I don’t actually succeed in doing more than 1 min of pondering. Emmanuel: Listen to music or a sermon.
What makes you awesome?
Yvette: Yoga, running, swimming Emmanuel: I hardly get angry or overreact when someone offends me.
Where do you give yourself license to have fun?
Yvette: I consume a number of weird health things. I will sometimes just bite into a leaf of aloe vera.
Do you have a favorite mantra?
Yvette: We can do this. Emmanuel: It is well.
What do you love most about Africa?
Yvette: It’s the place where I’ve been able to achieve the greatest level of self-determination. As myself, and specifically as a dark skinned black woman. I mostly just feel like a person making my way through – and not as much defined by the response to my racial identity. Emmanuel: The uniqueness of our diverse culture and the wealth of natural resources.
What frustrates you most about Africa?
Yvette: Whhhyyyyyy does the network work so inconsistently!!! Sometimes it’s fabulous. Other times… internet not working so oop I’ll do calls instead, but wait ! That’s not working either. Kill me. Emmanuel: Our low self-esteem and over reliance on the West.
The mostly female team at Yvaya Farm works together to package sustainable fruits.