Posted by: mhirdyounger | January 21, 2014

Albert, One Story of the Future of Agriculture in Ghana

Who is the future of Ghana`s agricultural development? Who are the young entrepreneurs and change agents that will drive agricultural development locally, nationally and regionally? This post introduces you to one such leader, Albert Adombila. Albert is someone I have worked closely with in my time at Ghana`s agricultural colleges and I have been inspired by his drive, commitment and vision for agriculture in Ghana. His group was the winner of the first National Agribusiness Competition and he has great entrepreneurial spirit that will help drive that business plan forward. 

Here is a bit of Albert`s story: 

Albert presenting his group`s business in the first Agribusiness Competition at Kwadaso Agricultural College, March, 2012

Albert presenting his group`s business in the first Agribusiness Competition at Kwadaso Agricultural College, March, 2012

Please introduce yourself. 

I am Albert Ayingura Adombila, a 27-year old native of Winkogo in the Upper East Region.

How did you become interested in agriculture?

Although I grew up in an agricultural home and community, that did not spark any interest in the field in me until I was properly exposed to the subject in my Junior High School (JHS) days.

Learning the academic practicals on Agricultural Science as a subject and relating it with my first-hand experience in my father’s farm ignited my passion for agriculture. That passion stayed and has grown by the day.

What was your project for the second year Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Project at Kwadaso Agricultural College? What did you learn in doing that project?

The project was about commercialising pop-corn to feed its lovers as well as earn some income. The brand name of the product was “Armor Pop-Corn”, a combination of corn, groundnut and other ingredients well labelled.The lessons from the project were enormous. Among them are:

  • The discovery of how to re-deplore existing resources (the corn, which is in abundance in Ghana) to make them more productive and valuable (the Armor Pop-Corn) to both retailers and consumers
  • The discovery of basic yet pertinent marketing skills and strategies that can be used to outwit competitors
  • Knowing and understanding how to work with people in a group towards innovating a product, marketing it and making it successful.

You won the first annual National Agribusiness Competition, how did that feel?

Albert presenting his group`s business at the first national agribusiness competition in Damongo, March 2013.

Albert presenting his group`s business at the first national agribusiness competition in Damongo, March 2013.

It was a humbling feeling; the kind that ignites excitement as well as responsibility. Excitement in the sense that it was the first time that people from the school had been adjudged the winner of a competition of that nature and I was privileged to have been a part of that.
It was also a responsibility because that honour served as a benchmark that will be used to measure me and my entrepreneurial ability in future endeavours. What it then means is that anything I do after that award has to be of class else I will be making mockery of the honour done me by the organisers of the competition.

What was your project and how did you come up with it?

My project was about turning cassava peels into animal feed. The product name was “Ultimate Cassava Peel Meal” – an alternative feed source that is full of energy and other essential nutrients for animals.

How the idea came about is rather strange. While at a gari processing firm in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, we realised that loads of cassava peels from the very cassava that is used to process the gari was wasting away. Out of curiosity, we asked what value could have been added to this and what other purposes it could serve beyond it being wasted? But while that thought run through my mind, I also remembered that sheep and goats sometimes eat the raw cassava peels and in the course of juxtaposing that with the need to add value to the peels, the idea of using them as an alternative animal feed popped up. After some deep thoughts in consultation with our agribusiness lecturer- Mr. Ishak  Shaibu about the whole thing, the idea took shape and we decided to implement it through the competition.

Where are you working now?

I am working with Kulemela Investments, an investment firm that provides financing along with business advisory services to small and medium sized African agricultural businesses.

Where do you see yourself in two years? Five years?

I see myself in the next few years working to improve and deepen my knowledge in agriculture, using that experience to support the operations of some of the dozens of smallholder farmers and agricultural related institutions nationwide as well as contributing to the development of the field and the livelihoods of people in the country.

What do you think are the strengths of Ghana’s agricultural sector? What are the areas for improvement?

For strengths, I think that Ghana’s agricultural sector is endowed with a lot of natural water bodies that can easily be mechanised for irrigation purposes; there is a lot of human resource as well as the availability of vast arable lands that are suitable for cultivation and other agric-related activities. Interest in the field is also picking up, especially among young literates, the government and development partners at large. The above is a plus, for a country can easily ride on the back of agriculture to develop.

Beyond this, however, I think that the government and other stakeholders need to work towards improving upon irrigation or mechanized agriculture, especially in Northern Ghana where climate change is pushing the people to the brick of famine, post-harvest and stock management, value chain enhancement and empowerment of rural farmers with the needed finances, inputs, information and technology for higher productivity.

Albert with students from other agricultural colleges learning from a role model agricultural entrepreneur.

Albert with students from other agricultural colleges learning from a role model agricultural entrepreneur.

What is your dream job?

I have always dreamt of working on my own, perhaps running my own business, preferably agricultural related company that contributes to sustainable livelihood in the area it is located and the country at large.

 

 

 

Many of Ghana`s future agriculturalists are trained at Ghana’s agricultural colleges, where AgEx is working, investing in the potential of the colleges to be centres of innovation and hubs of leading-edge knowledge, training and research in agriculture. These institutions have the potential to train about 500-800 ‘Alberts’ annually – an exciting opportunity for systemic change in Ghana.

 

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Responses

  1. […] Last year we piloted the event at a smaller scale for the first time at the 32nd ACSU Games. Check out what Albert, the winner of that event, had to say about the impact it had on him by reading this post. […]

  2. We are where we have been on account of our thinking process.
    AndOf course yes many of us will definately continue
    being where we are except we begin carrying out everything
    another way given that when all of us continue undertaking same
    issues the same way, we will pretty much stay behind


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