In August 2011, a twenty-year old 5.7 footed young adult entered the Accra Polytechnic to pursue a course of study that culminated in the award of a HND in computer science in 2014. The son of a farmer and a trade unionist, Boadu precedes two of his siblings but is senior to the last one, the only female. Born and raised in one of the suburbs of Nsawan called Ahojo, Boadu inherited a mixed upbringing of a small, slowly urbanising community. These mixed blessings combined to fashion Boadu into a town folk with small community psychology.
An animal farmer in the making
Before Boadu could turn ten, he had learn to take cattle and sheep out in the open green fields surrounding the little hills of Ahojo. By the time he was eleven, he could castrate kids of the Ashanti dwarf goats, permanently incapacitate the male yearnings of little rams and remove the testes off the behind of young boars.
His father’s farm grew, prospered but when the trade union business frequently brought him to the city of Accra, the farm suffered, dwindling into a little enterprise incapable of supporting even the meagre wages of the four permanent employees.
The entrepreneur calling
When Boadu was in the polytechnic, nothing particularly striking occurred to sway him off his preparation for life. But during the period between leaving college and joining the real labour market, the phenomenon of graduate unemployment struck the young man a deadly blow. He awoke from his slumber.
Boadu told me that he tried to simulate his future after the national service. When that was complete, the resulting picture was gloomy. And to reverse this situation, the young entrepreneur had to put on his thinking cup. And the fruit of such an exercise, after several days of pondering, was what led to the birth of Bas Farms
The strategic team
Boadu discussed the idea with his father, mother and a mentor at his place of work at the time, the West Africa Examinations Council. He told me this was necessary because he would need about 3600 feet square land area belonging to his father, the man hours of his mother and the invaluable pieces of counsel and some non-monetary resources of the mentor. Luckily for him, none of these partners declined the request.
Boadu’s father was elated that finally, one of his children was going to take after him in the animal business. The mother was excited at the idea because her son might escape the troubling headache and costly snares of unemployment after school. For the mentor, an enterprise in animal husbandry sounded to him like the perfect preoccupations of a man on his way to retirement. He loved the idea because it could afford for him a costless experiment in animal business. By the time he would be due for retirement, he would have learnt enough to decide whether investing his retirement benefits in agribusiness made sense.
The entrepreneur told me that when the national service ended, his savings account credit was a little over GHS3000 (an equivalent of USD800 at the time). This was way, way below what was needed in order to kick start the enterprise. He fell on his father’s near moribund piggery. After auditing the existing resources, Boadu realised that if he wanted to renovate this piggery, a substantial portion of his already slim capital would be gone.
Boadu purchased two boars and six mother pigs for GHS2000. But he got them purchased from a friend whose farm had a few idle rooms. Boadu left his new stock in his friend’s farm and arranged with the benefactor to pay for the feeds, feeding, medications and cleaning costs. That arrangement was conceived to last six months. When the term expired, the entrepreneur sold part of his swelling stock and undertook the renovation works.
Boadu transferred his animal stock to his own farm and set off to take care of them. He hired his mother, a friend of his, and two others as his stock swell. He purchased a rickety pickup mainly for feed transport and for market when he has to sell some of his animals ready for market.
The market for pork is lucrative. It might be good for other pig farmers but for this young man, the situation is different. His current market comprise mainly Chinese nationals in Ghana. They come every now and then to the farm gate and the price they are ready to pay is just as good as what pertains on the open market. But in Boadu’s case, his current transaction takes away the cost of stock transportation and the time and inconvenience associated with the open market activities.
A real business genus
The prospects for business for the young entrepreneur is enormous. Boadu is reading every available research into pork and by-products. He tells me that there is new research on the shelves pointing a favourable finger at pig lad. He claims that that journal’s position is that pork may be rich in fat, but that fat is a lot more digestible than the regular lad from other farm animals. He hopes that by the time this piece of good news goes round, the demand for pork may stagger.
Piggery start-up consulting
Boadu’s entrepreneurial gifts abound in multiple disciplines. The young man builds piggeries too for individuals interested in pig farming. At the time of this interview, he has just finished setting up one for a retired public servant interested in doing something after exiting from active work. He is building another farm for a burger investor still in Europe. After him is another person, also looking at retirement in the next two scores of months. He has a lot other such investors waiting to take their turn to have a farm modelled the way of Boadu.
When I asked Boadu how he feels being a pig farmer, his answer was revealing. Unlike other young people of his age, education and social standing, Boadu is not in the least perturbed by the unfavourable opinion of his peers. Actually, he said he feels challenged by such comments.
But there are real challenges to animal farming in the country and no matter how hard Boadu tries to be an exemption, the reality stares him in the face every day. Boadu’s analysis show that if he could secure funding with relatively low interest or with a breathing space of one year or so known in finance circles as moratorium, his enterprise might be second to none.
Source: Graphic Business