Prospective agribusiness investors in Ghana have been cautioned against deferring the management and supervision of their farms completely to local farmers without frequenting the farms themselves.
According to Professor Edmund Sottie, a Principal Research Scientist at the Animal Research Institute of the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), there is a greater risk of losing investments in agriculture in Ghana if the investor rarely visits the farm to acquaint him or herself with happenings.
Speaking on ‘Opportunities in agric production’ as part of the on-air series of the Citi Business Festival, Prof. Sottie said while it is good that many Ghanaians are getting interested and actually investing in agribusiness, there are regular concerns about people losing their investments due to their lack of supervision of operations.
“Before you venture into some of these things, talk to people who have the knowledge to guide you through the process to help you. I would want to caution that when people hear some of these things, they are motivated and want to go into it, and sometimes they want to become absentee farmers. We have heard many stories about absentee farmers that sometimes it breaks my heart,” Prof. Sottie said.
He said persons who may not often be present on their farms will need to hire competent farm managers and supervisors, but still keep records of activities on the farm.
“Don’t assume that you go to the village, and you know the village guys and so you entrust the business in their hands. Employ the right people if you cannot be there. It means you have to be supervising regularly, have proper records of whatever goes on; and ensure that things are done the way they are to be done by the book and don’t just throw your money away because you’ve heard that agriculture is good to invest in. Make sure you are part of the thing.”
“If you want to do it medium to large scale, you need to be there. Even if you can’t be there, employ someone who has done maybe a diploma or degree in agriculture, and pay the person as a business person and let the person be accountable,” he added.
The term absentee farming is associated with investing money in any form of farming without being physically present or actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the farm.
The Citi Business Festival is an extensive program of business events and on-air activities providing inspiration, business ideas, and information to persons who are starting, building, or growing their businesses.
The five-week-long festival features weekly conversations on various business themes.
This week’s focus is on ‘AgriBusiness – Feeding Ghana with a sound import substitution strategy.’
There will be a virtual business forum live on Citi TV on Tuesday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
The radio on-air series runs from Monday to Thursday on the Citi Breakfast Show.