Business News of Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Source: Graphic Business
The Agricultural Extension (AgEx) Services Venture of Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Canada, has collaborated with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) to impart entrepreneurial skills of students in the various agriculture training colleges country-wide.
The venture has also collaborated with the ministry to invest in extension services in the country’s agricultural sector with the aim of helping to improve the livelihoods of farmers, especially those in the hinterlands.
EWB is a Canadian-based non-governmental organisation which has operated in the country since 2004. It helps rural farmers and stakeholders in the sector to lessen the inherent challenges. Its AgEx Services Venture recently collaborated with the MOFA and the Executive Committee of the Agricultural Colleges Student Union (ACSU) to organise the maiden Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Competition in Tamale.
The competition was among student-companies established in the six agricultural colleges in the country. The Country Manager of the AgEx Services Venture, Madam Miriam Hird-Younger, said in an interview that the establishment of the companies was part of EWB’s initiative which is aimed at identifying and nurturing entrepreneurship among them. The initiative, which falls under the Agribusiness course offered in agricultural colleges, also helps to educate the students on the need to establish their own businesses after school instead of waiting to be employed, Madam Hird-Younger said.
She added that the AgEx Services Venture partnered the colleges to introduce the Agribusiness course to help impart entrepreneurial skills to the students while they were still on campus. At the end of the competition, Kwadaco Company Limited, an animal feed production company operated by students of the Kwadaso Agricultural College in the Ashanti Region, emerged the overall best.
Their company processed wasted cassava peels into animal feed. The company was formed by Mr Albert Adombila Ayingura, Mr Eric Agyei Gyansah and Mr Marcellinus Babai, all students of the college. The three have subsequently become the Managing Director, Marketing Manager and Head of Operations respectively.
Although the company is currently operating on campus, its MD, Mr Ayingura, said it would soon go commercial once the founders are out of school. All three are in their final year and would be completing in June this year, Mr Ayingura said. On the rationale behind turning cassava peels into animal feed, the MD explained that he and his colleagues realised that there was a high competition for maize, a major raw material in most animal feed, between man and the animals for the product.
That, he said, was pushing prices of maize-sourced animal feeds up. “But cassava peels are readily available and cheap; they are even a waste to some people and so we realised that producing animal feed from it will reduce the strain on maize and make it more available to man for food,” he explained.