In the early 2013, Ghanaian Richard Nunekpeku began egg production start up. Being fully employed then, he visits the farm occasionally and mostly on weekends.
For the love of his farm start-up, he quit his high-paying job to fully devote his energy towards egg production business. According to him, ” leaving paid job is a business decision”.
He further stated, “I think as a young person, if I venture into agribusiness, I can drive profitability not just for myself but also contribute to our national economy in helping reduce food shortages and importation”.
Today he’s the founder of Anyako Farms, an agribusiness company involved in poultry, growing maize, rice and vegetables.
Nunekpeku decision to diversify to crop farming is a result of chicken feed cost-cutting, according to him ” more than 50% of feed expenses were going towards maize purchases”.
He furthered, “We came to the decision to acquire additional land and start producing our own maize to feed the poultry,”. He explained the new opportunity, “Upon the first production of maize we did a review of our performance and realised there were bigger opportunities in the crop sector besides producing maize just to feed our poultry. So we expanded the maize production and went into rice and vegetables.”
When Nunekpeku realised he wasn’t making the most of maize harvest by relying on rain. He secured additional investments through world bank grants to acquire new irrigation equipment.
Nunekpeku said he currently have 113 hectares of land under irrigation which is powered by electricity that enables sustainable production all year round.
He further stated his interest in pig farming and strategy to curb waste, “We are currently building the piggery. Once we fully commercialize the maize production we will have a lot of by-products that can be used to feed our livestock, so we need to be ready for that synergy to avoid waste of the by-products.”
Nunekpeku says agribusness operations and management is systemic like corporate environment where structures, systems, processes and compliance are non-negotiable.
Nunekpeku holds a developmental concept. According to him, “In my professional career I was involved in ensuring companies drive revenues, minimise costs and maximise profits. I look at farming from that angle – purely as a business. I came into agriculture with the view that if I handled it as a business rather than the peasant and subsistence angle previous generations have taken, I could make a lot of money from it”.
“If you put in place structures and systems, you set your business apart from other farming entities and your employees and stakeholders will understand the seriousness of your investment and support that agenda,” he added.
He’s faced the challenge of finding well-trained and experienced agricultural professionals. In his statement, “I don’t have a background in agriculture so I rely a lot on technical experts, but there are limited human resources available”.
He stated that finance is a big issue in Ghana as most farmers rely on rain and ended up missing production targets as a result of changes in rainfall pattern. According to him, “Most of those farms do not generate enough revenue to pay back previous loans, so the banks have come to a position where they are not interested in financing agriculture. If you want to do agriculture in Ghana today you must look for a way to source finance”.
Optimistic Nunekpeku stated, “We are looking at becoming one of the leading agribusinesses in Ghana. Most commercial farms in Ghana are predominantly owned by foreign investors and foreign companies. So by 2020 we want to be a leading locally-owned and locally-managed agribusiness in the crop and livestock sector’.
“We want other youths to look at us as a shining example in the agricultural industry, and get motivated to also join and contribute in addressing the food shortages,” he added.