Ghana Successes: Business of Breeding Pigs & Other “Grasscutters”

in Ghana, Success Stories

In the farming community of Agomeda near Somanya, Ghana, three local friends started a breeding farm for “grasscutter” aka herbivore animals. By qualifying to participate in the Believe Begin Become competition, Paul said, “With BBB training we gained some specific areas of business knowledge that we hadn’t had prior.  Writing a business plan forced us to do a lot of research which helped us plan better…focus on specific key elements: the cost of breeding, the order of key milestones, timing of phases, streamlining activities, having money to start a phase, and anticipating how to overcome difficulties.  For example we had planned to grow vegetables to create some income while building the piggery.  However, water costs were too high so we decided in making the trade-off to focus on the piggery even if there’s a loss, not profit.”  Further he stated, “Our mentor was EXTREMELY useful, forcing us to answer VERY tough questions which pushed us deeper into challenging issues.”

After winning the Believe, Begin, Become Business Plan Competition, they used their $15,000 seed money to purchase,

design, and create two billboards to promote the farm locally; and $10,000 in support services to leverage consultancies in construction, farm layout, and breeding.  Among Paul Tetteh, Eric Kudor, and Samuel Nartey, two have university degrees in agriculture (specialty in animal breeding) and engineering and one a Higher National Diploma.  As of late 2008, their modern farm had successfully bred pigs, was piloting rabbits, and planned to add guinea pigs and chickens over time.

Fresh Farms Ltd.’s Background

In 2005 the Paul, Eric and Samuel bought a plot of land near a river to breed animals as well as start a fishery but the original owners litigated for so long that they lost the land, deposit, and lots of time. Instead they transported all their project material to the new site–which cost more money–to start building all the animal structures, feed and water facilities, etc.  Fresh Farms Ltd. started in Jan. 2008 with three boars and ten breeds of large white gilts (sows) which still had to mature several months before their estrus, delaying for a further time the 1st round of three to four month breeding cycle.

Expansion Already & Planned in Future

As of late 2008, with only one animal care-taker, Fresh Farms Ltd. was raising about 70 pigs in total, ranging from two days to four months old. The very clean 1st unit of sty or pen was complete and the 2nd sty nearly finished. Some fruit trees, special pods and herbs had been planted to supplement the purchased pig fodder. Over the next couple of years they planned to use water harvesting to build a water reservoir in order to ensure healthy animals; create a pond for breeding fish; plant crops to feed the animals; and expand breeding of pigs and other herbivores.

Fresh Farms’ future looks bright.  They could begin to meet the un-met demand in-country for pork, chickens and fish.  They could eventually expand to meet market growth by providing better pigs (hopefully cross-bred through artificial insemination) to local farmers for raising as long as they meet Fresh Farms’ high quality standards.  Grasscutter breeding is a new but growing specialty market in rural and urban Ghana which meat could be sold to regional restaurants, food markets as well as standard meat businesses.

Besides creating employment (doubling current staff within two years), meeting un-met market demand, and maybe supplying better animal breeds to local farmers, Fresh Farms might further alleviate poverty if they become a clearinghouse/meat business which trains other farmers to supply them.  Paul firmly believes, “If we gave up, what kind of role model would we serve?  We said to ourselves, remain focused and determined.  Never give up in the midst of these disappointments.  The land owners of the 2nd plot have given us time for regular payments.  And they saw the value in our hiring local youth as well. ”  Fresh Farms’ ten year goal is to become Ghana’s #1 pig breeder, known for their clean and high quality lean meat to feed their nation!

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