Ghana, one of the most notable countries in Sub-haran Africa, has nonetheless grappled with its alarming rates of graduate unemployment for decades; a phenomenon that has seen the vast numbers of graduates from the nation`s tertiary institutions exceed by far, available decent job opportunities on the job market.
Government after government has attempted to do its bit in helping minimize, if not totally eradicate this stark and glaring reality. The fact still remains however, that none of the measures deployed by these governments have yielded the desired outcomes, with literally thousands of the nation`s human capital jobless and thus unproductive.
It is instructive to note that it has been widely conceded that one of the sure routes to gainful employment is self-employment or entrepreneurship, as it were. This route has however been the road less travelled by the teaming youth of this country. Relatively fewer persons travel this route while in school. Yet, it remains a prudent route by far; the few daring and visionary students, who set sails into the world of entrepreneurship, have time and again largely demonstrated that in spite of some monumental difficulties, it remains not only a prudent option but also a viable one indeed.
Joining the league of students in Ghana in particularly and the world in general, who have dared to think outside the box, breaking the status quo to create viable business entities for themselves and their communities, are two unassuming young men, Bright Abiah and Obed Asamoaha, students of the University of Ghana, with the Department of Agriculture.
In an era especially in Ghana where very few students venture into business and run businesses alongside their studies, these students are breaking the glass ceiling and defying the odds. In an age where in spite of the scarcity of decent jobs, many graduates tend to chase after non-existing white collar jobs, these young fellows spotted a viable agro-business opportunity and latched onto it; wasting no time to set sails, little capital notwithstanding.
Samdel Gardens, home of organic foods was born and is currently operated by the ‘incredible trio’, Obed, Bright and Ebenezer. Their incredible ability to spot a need and to commit to providing a workable solution are worthy of note. Samdel Gardens at present produces and serves oysters and mushrooms to primarily students and lecturers within the university of Ghana community and also inhabitants within the East Legon catchment area. Bright, the team leader once posited: “It is our objective to build a strong and vibrant economy through a revolutionary’s agriculture which would not only contribute to food security and health benefits but also serve as a major tool of employment for the teaming youths in Ghana and beyond”.
Having chalked a modicum of success, Obed and Bright are not resting on their ores; they are stretching their vision; a vision of increased capacity and output. According to Obed, Farm manager of Samdel Gardens, they plan on expanding their production capacity to 10 tons of fresh mushrooms daily, 5 tons of dried mushrooms weekly and 10 tons of canned mushrooms to serve both the local and international market in the next 5 years. He further stated: “We would also venture into manure processing from by-products from our mushroom farm; produce about 20 tons of processed snails for the international and local markets; produce fresh vegetables for export as well as other agricultural ventures.” This is obviously daring. They are however poised to make this a reality someday.
A fine blend of the sterling leadership qualities of Bright and Obed, notably vision, pragmatism, initiative, drive, passion, team work, and diligence have resulted in a thriving agro-business, as they have managed to maintain a good balance between studies and their ever-expanding business, going beyond theory (learnt in class) into practice, with remarkable success. It should thus not come as a surprise that these visionaries are contesting for the presidency of the International Association of Students in Agricultural & Related Sciences, University of Ghana (IAAS UG).
It was the enigmatic Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who once opined: “revolutions are brought by men, men who think as men of action and act as men of thought.” In these young men, I see persons with convictions and ambitions intrinsically linked to the world of Agriculture that are nothing short of revolutionary in nature. They are not only men of action but are also men of thought, and this is evidenced by their entrepreneurial accomplishments among others.
It was William Shakespeare, the celebrated English poet, playwright and actor who remarked: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.”It can be said and right so, that Obed, and Bright were neither born great nor beneficiaries of some sort of greatness being thrust upon them; they actually achieved greatness, and this is only the beginning.