In 2012, Kwami Williams was studying at MIT to become a rocket scientist when he took a trip to his home country of Ghana with some of his classmates. There, he was introduced to the moringa, a sturdy tree dotting impoverished farming communities throughout the country. Williams, 20 at the time, was asked by the farmers he met if it was possible to make money from the moringa, called the “miracle tree” for its hardiness and multiple uses. Finding the answer to that question would change the trajectory of his life.
In the space of just a few years, Williams would go from studying space to selling beauty products sourced from the moringa, opening a new commercial opportunity for local farmers through the process. His company, MoringaConnect, is part of a wave of savvy young entrepreneurs who are turning to the country’s troubled agricultural sector, and the millions of farmers toiling in it, as source of inspiration for their ideas.
“Farmers are the origin of our business idea, and their input and participation have been invaluable in our success to date,” Williams says. “Our vertically integrated model is an evolution of ideas our farmers shared about guaranteeing their harvest, centralizing processing, and connecting it to distribution.”