It is a noisy environment I find myself in - an atmosphere charged with sound from poultry birds, and pigs. They seemed hungry but their owner, Emmanuel Adam was still preparing their feed.
Emmanuel is 35 years of age and trained as an agriculturalist with a college degree in Ghana. After working with the certificate for some few years with Ghana’s ministry of agriculture, he left the job. Not to look for another office work but to setup his own farms named Divine Providence Farms-DEPRO Farms at Gumo, a rural settlement located in Northern Ghana.
Adam made a discovery: “I realized every morning when you go around, you will see trucks loaded with eggs from Sunyani.” He wandered and began to plan his business. “We have all the resources in northern region, why is it that we cannot produce eggs” he asked rhetorically.
Photo: Maxwell Suuk
"Where there’s a will, there’s a way, so I made some inquiries from the people who are dealing in eggs..the women told me, you see these trucks coming today? All will finish in the next three days”, Adams narrates.
Bulk of northern Ghana’s eggs come from elsewhere, including Accra and Kumasi. Big trucks load the eggs and bring them to market dealers who trade it to households and food vendors. But supply doesn’t meet demand, according to Adams.
In 2007, Adam started the farm with 1000 birds and 5 pigs. The piggery suffered an attack from Swine Influenza virus, “so all of them died and it collapsed," he says. But the poultry farm succeeded. At present, Adam’s farm has 11000 layers and 3000 day old chickens. Which gives him between 240 and 260 crates of eggs daily - enough to make 2400 thousand Ghana cedis on a good sales day. But DEPRO Farms didn’t start without a challenge. “The unfortunate thing was, that I lost my first batch. But I didn’t give up," he says.
Adam was desirous to set up the farm. So he tried a different set of birds and started again. Now he supplies many households, food vendors and restaurants operating around Tamale. However, gaps still exist. His farm alone is not able to meet the demand and more eggs and chickens are needed to satisfy consumers in northern Ghana, Tamale and its environs. Demand outweighs supply. "Egg is a hot cake when you go to tamale market." as Adams puts it.
A window opportunity for Ghanaian farmers
About 1.5 million cedis were spent on importation of frozen chicken in 2013 alone by private importers in Ghana. Another huge sum of money was spent on importing poultry feed into the country annually. All these together with other expenses caused a deficit in the country’s budget, President Mahama said to Parliament in a state of the nation address in 2014. There is hope in sight. The poultry business is now a new discovery for many people living in Northern Ghana. But knowledge in handling chickens is a challenge and Adam is offering free consultancy with his experience, “as I sit, I have about 26 people mentoring. Some of them have about 1000 birds, some have 2000."
Foto: Maxwell Suuk
There are more and more people venturing into the poultry business every year. And Adam, one of eight children by a retired teacher wants to help them stand on their feet. "This may help to meet demand and boost the country’s economy" he added. Fast forward to 2016, Adams, his father and wife together with his siblings, have joined hands to take care of this farm. The piggery has been back in operation since 2015. “I went in for ten piglets, today, I have well over 200 pigs,” happy Adam told me.
It is easier keeping pigs than poultry, he says. Adams is doing this without external funding. In 2014, an outbreak of avian influenza killed thousands of poultry birds in Ghana. Adam wasn’t spared either. He lost 6000 birds which stumbled his supplies. “But I am back to supplies again,” he said. The young farmer went in for more birds and they have started to lay eggs already. For delivery purposes, Adams got a kia truck to help him deliver his services to clients all across the northern Ghana.