The farming expedition of a young agricultural technologist


…the story of Charles Maganoba

As part of efforts to improve the agricultural sector by enhancing food security, a young agricultural technologist, Maganoba Charles of the University for Development Studies (UDS), has taken on the responsibility to be innovative.

Charles has gone beyond farming to using the waste materials to produce manure and other products. To whip the interest of others, he came up with a training centre to equip other agricultural students and farmers, as well as employed several youths to work hand in hand with researchers for effective outcomes.

He narrated his journey to the B&FT when the team paid a visit to his farm. Read on!

B&FT: Who is Maganoba Charles?

Charles: Maganoba Charles is the Chief Executive Officer of Maganoba Farms. He is a 31-year-old young man who was born in Kintampo, but grew up in a small town called Nkwaeso – a suburb of Techiman. He has four siblings and grew up in a house where the main occupation was farming even though her mother trades alongside.

B&FT: Tell us a bit about your educational background?

Charles: I started my basic school at Nkwaeso Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) but later changed to Ebenezer Methodist Preparatory School (Great EMPS), where I obtained my Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE) certificate. I was admitted to Osei-Tutu Senior High School at Akropong, Ashanti Region as a General Science student.

I was a member of the Science Club and in charge of the Biology Laboratory for my year group. I obtained my West African Examinations Council certificate in 2013. In the same year, I had the opportunity to work at Becom Company, where agricultural products are produced.

In 2014, I gained admission to the University for Development Studies (UDS) to pursue Agricultural Technology. I furthered with an MPhil in Crop Science and currently offering a Ph.D. in Irrigation and Drainage Engineering at the West Africa Center for Water, Irrigation and Sustainable Agriculture (WACWISA) – UDS chapter.

B&FT: When did you start the business and what is the idea behind it?

Charles: I started the business in 2016, during my undergraduate studies, at level 200 and registered it in 2020 as Maganoba Farms.

My main motivation for setting up this business was to make money to support my education and help alleviate poverty in our communities through an outgrowing system where individuals, especially women, are given training to retail mushroom products. Also, I wanted to help address some of the social needs in the most deprived rural community in Northern Region.

Currently, Maganoba Farms has formed a partnership with the Touch Lives Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, to provide free National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) registrations for the vulnerable in Janton Daashie and Kpachi communities in Savannah and Northern Regions, respectively.

B&FT: What are some of Maganoba Farms’ products?

Charles: Maganoba Farms has about seven products. We deal in both production and processing, with the brand name MegaMush. The products are mushroom compost bags, MegaMush mushroom powder beverage, powder spices, fresh and dried organic oyster mushrooms.

One unique feature of our products is that all the products are organic, have no synthetic additives, are very high quality, and are very rich in all the essential food nutrients.

B&FT: How has your educational background influenced your business?

Charles: My educational background as an Agriculture student has played a key role in setting up my business since the farm is into agro-processing. Mushrooms are fungi that do well in very humid environments and low atmospheric temperatures, making it impossible to produce mushrooms all year in the Northern Region which is characterised by erratic rainfall.

I can proudly say my educational background gave me a broad knowledge to manipulate the environment to support the growth of mushrooms all year round. The quality of the products, especially since they are organic and the packaged, was influenced by my educational background.

B&FT: What have been your challenges in starting a business?

Charles: As a small business pushing very hard to grow, we are confronted with so many challenges that impede the growth of the business. The major challenge we have been facing is the lack of required facilities for production. The farms have limited facilities to produce and meet the demands of our customers. We do not have a proper inoculating room, incubating room, fruiting room, or laboratory to ensure the continued flow of products.

Frequent shortage of spawns due to lack of laboratory forces us to depend on food research, which affects the cost of production badly. Also, lack of machinery – such as milling machines, packaging, and labelling machines for the processed products – were also a challenge; and lastly, delays in getting legal approval from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) and other bodies to allow us sell our products on the market.

How can government help?

The government should create more funds to support and come up with a policy for start-ups to access loans from financial institutions. Government should also develop an interest in local products and curb the importation of similar commodities to reduce the competition with these foreign products.  Lastly, the government should also ensure that registration of businesses, Food and Drugs Authority certificates, and other processes become easy to motivate more start-ups.

B&FT: What is your vision for the business? 

Charles: Our vision is to become the leading producer and exporter of mushroom products in Ghana. Also, we want to create jobs for more than 500 women and youths in the Northern Region and help change lives in most deprived rural communities by providing some social needs.

B&FT: What is your advice to upcoming entrepreneurs?

Charles: Becoming an entrepreneur is very difficult without funding in Ghana, thereby making it difficult for most youths with very good business ideas to implement them into actual businesses.

I will take this opportunity to encourage my colleague youths to develop a key interest in doing something for themselves without depending solely on government to offer jobs. We should also adopt the habit of acquiring new skills instead of looking for white-collar jobs. There are so many opportunities, especially in the agricultural sector. Even though the journey is not smooth, with determination, perseverance and hard work, we will surely get there. The only way to become economically independent as well as positive to society is to become an entrepreneur.

Contact details

Customers can reach us on social media as Maganoba Farms.

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