Fewer women than men work in Ghana’s poultry sector and even fewer at the leadership level. Mentorship can provide knowledge from personal experiences and offer insights into navigating the business world. It can also be a valuable tool for building leadership skills and connecting women to help them thrive in agribusiness. Mentoring young women is especially useful when the mentor is also a woman.
“Starting a poultry business can be tough, especially for young women,” Edith Akorsa (pictured above in the center), who has mentored six young women and employed two of them as managers on her farm in the Ashanti Region. “Without a helping hand, success is unlikely. I have been through those slopes, so it’s important for me to be a guide to other youngsters.”
Mentoring Young People in the Poultry Sector
Creating leadership pathways for women in agribusiness is at the heart of initiatives led by the Ghana Poultry Project (GPP), funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by ACDI/VOCA. Through GPP, hundreds of women-owned poultry businesses have received assistance to grow and become more efficient.
GPP has introduced these female business owners to various ways they can mentor younger women. One initiative helping to identify and support young women’s talent is the Poultry Youth Mentorship Program. This program trains, encourages, and empowers the next generation of young women and men with a passion for business to become seasoned entrepreneurs who can contribute to their local economies and communities. Out of the 45 young people trained, about 20 of them have launched their own poultry business start-ups.
One Woman’s Story of Starting from Scratch
Fuseina Adama was part of the second cohort of the Poultry Mentorship Program in the Ashanti Region. She is an example of how the USDA’s commitment in Ghana has turned into real-life successes. As a young graduate, Fuseina was not only jobless but also the only hope of a stable future for her younger siblings. She was introduced to GPP’s mentorship program in 2017 and was mentored by a poultry farmer, Juliet Osei, for six months. During this time, she received practical training in poultry production and business management. She also learned to build her own poultry business plan by the end of the program. Her business plan was one of the top three business plans selected to receive support through a competitive process.
“My father always kept household birds, and it looked very easy. I never imagined the level of care and methods that go into commercial poultry production. My experience in the mentorship program has really built me up to succeed.”— Fuseina Adama, a participant of GPP’s Youth Mentorship Program in the Ashanti Region
Expanding and Growing Her Business
Upon graduation, Fuseina invested her savings from the compulsory national service program to refurbish and upgrade her father’s old poultry house, where she started her own poultry farm with 600 broilers (chickens raised for meat production). GPP supported her with inputs through an in-kind grant. “The local broiler market is tricky, but I had no challenges because of one key lesson I got from the program: to secure the market before production,” Fuseina said. “This principle has helped me to build my customer base and assured returns on my business.” Fuseina sold her product to local eateries and restaurants in the regional capital city of Kumasi. She then reinvested a portion of the profits into her business.
Fuseina also paid for her younger brother’s final year at a technical university. “My parents and siblings are really proud of me, and I am also proud to be able to assist my family,” she said.
Now in its third year of operation, Fuseina’s farm has grown to reach its maximum capacity of 1,000 birds. To continue expanding, Fuseina recently used part of her savings to purchase a plot of land to set up a larger poultry house. She invested the remainder of her savings to produce ginger on the same land to raise funds for constructing the larger poultry house.
Fuseina’s success points to GPP’s solid collaboration with poultry entrepreneurs. GPP works to scale up successful poultry business models and assist young people, especially at such difficult times during the COVID-19 crisis, when many people need more support than ever.
Learn more about the USDA-funded Ghana Poultry Project.
Learn more about our work in Ghana.