Growing up in Mpasaso, a cocoa farming community in the Ashanti region of Ghana, Daniel noticed that nearly all the pre-harvest activity for cocoa had been mechanized. However, the cocoa pod breaking process, a post-harvest activity, mostly remained a manual process. Most farmers in Ghana break their cocoa pods with sharp machetes, a significantly slower and challenging process. And despite the emergence of modern cocoa pod breaking machines, many cocoa farmers cannot afford them.
With his internship application being unsuccessful, Daniel spent his school break applying learning from his two years at Ashesi to mechanise the pod breaking process in his community. His mission was to build a far less expensive pod breaking machine, and begin understanding how to mass manufacture such a machine for distribution.
Over five weeks, Daniel created a 3D model for his machine and went to work bringing it to life with scrap metal and material pieces. Working together with his Engineering lecturer Heather Beem, some classmates, and a local welder, the prototype allowed him to test the design, and receive feedback from farmers in his community. Daniel is now focused on getting the machine mass market-ready under a company he has created called TeXperg.
In July TeXperg participated in the WeGrow hackathon, a cocoa tech competition organised by Care Ghana in partnership with Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kosmos Innovation Centre, BlueTown, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology and others. Presenting their first product, the Cocoa Pod Breaking Machine, TeXperg emerged competition winners. In addition to other prizes, Daniel and his team will be receiving support from the Kosmos Innovation Centre – a Kosmos Energy business incubator focused on Agriculture innovation. He considers the opportunity as the beginning of many learning events to come.
“The dream is to become a catalyst for social change by designing simple solutions to help society,” he says.