Akwasi Osei-Bobie Ansah is an entrepreneur from Ghana, Founder & CEO of Farmers Hope Co. Ltd and its subsidiary BMV Agro-Solutions Ltd, an enterprise that produces an affordable organic fertilizer with local raw materials. Farmers Hope is the 1st producer of bio-fertilizers in Ghana and his high-quality products are ideal for any type of crops and they improve the soil structure over long period of time.
For his activities, Osei Bobie was recognized by the Ghanaian Ministry of Agriculture for his contribution to the agricultural development of Ghana in 2015 and received $700,000 as investment from Acumen Fund some years later. The company has become a centre for student research work from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and soul research CSIR.
Osei’s college studies focused on the Marketing field, with professional certificates in both ICT and Maths & Science. Years after finishing university, he decided to enroll in the E4Impact MBA in Accra to sharpen his agribusiness activities and to network.
“I believe that the MBA in Impact Entrepreneurship offered by E4Impact and ALTIS is a world-class training center for entrepreneurs who have big entrepreneurial dreams”. Osei stated after attending the 2nd edition of the Ghanaian program.
“Farmers Hope boasts a customer base of 30,000 farmers, selling each day 1,200 bags of bio-fertilizer. To make this possible, it employs 28 full-time workers and 15 causal laborers.”
1.How was your Business Idea born?
It all started in 2008, during my national service experience with the National Board for Small Scale Industry (NBSSI) at the Business Advisory Centre in Kumasi. The World Bank launched a program called “Waste Not a Waste” under the Ghana Innovation Marketplace (GIM). The concept was to create an opportunity for people to convert industrial waste into usable products. I was one of program coordinators, who later turned into a participant and placed the third position in the final competition. That was how Farmers Hope Co. Ltd was established.
BMV Agro-Solutions were also created as an extension from the activities of Farmers Hope to cover a wider area of the agriculture sector. It was established in 2019 to research and produce plants liquid food and supplements, poultry supplements, organic pesticide and fungicide from plants and natural sources.
2.How can your business improve the life of the beneficiaries of your activities?
The first and flagship product branded as Asaase Nufusuo (translated “soil breast milk”) granular organic fertilizer has the ability to amend degraded soil structure and increase yield by 3x at the lowest cost compared to government subsidized products and open market prices. The demand trend of the fertilizer and people’s confidence to invest more in order to expand the production is clear evidence of the high-quality benefits derived from our product.
3.What has been the main challenge you had to overcome in your entrepreneurial experience?
The main challenge I had to face had to do with my inability to make the Ghanaian government include our best product into the government fertilizers subsidized program. This does not warrant a fair market and it makes market penetration very challenging.
Honestly, I have not been able to overcome this issue yet. Therefore, growth has not been as expected. Irrespective of this pending challenge, I have managed to broaden the consumer base, by creating a parallel project called Smart Organic Farming, brought about within BMV Agro-Solutions, which consumes the final products of Farmers Hope Co LTD. It is expected that BMV Agro-Solutions will consume about 80% of the Asaase Nufusuo organic granular fertilizer in the next two years.
4.In your opinion, what are the main qualities an entrepreneur should have?
An entrepreneur must possess the determination to succeed at all costs. He or she should be capable of focusing on things that matter and be passionate about the job.
5.What would you suggest to a new-born entrepreneur?
I believe that people who are starting entrepreneurial careers should look for innovativeness and patience in their work.
6.Could you tell us a particular satisfactory moment you had in your entrepreneurial activity?
I feel satisfied any time I manage to register a product with authorities such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Coco Board and Plant Protection and Regulatory Services Division of Ministry of Food and Agriculture. It is very difficult to go through their hands with respect to costs and data when you are a local producer with tiny ribs. It is a source of joy when I successfully register my products with these agencies: it is a great achievement for me!
7.Could you tell us how the MBA has helped you and your business?
The change in the business’ growth from 2011 to 2015 and from 2015 to date is a clear evidence. Through the training program, I managed to polish my pitching skills to get my first investment of $700,000. The MBA has elicited some hidden talents such as creativity and negotiation skills, which emerged upon completing the training. Also, now I hold radio talks about entrepreneurship every Friday evening.