In today’s modern world, where ‘get rich quick’ has become the new norm for the youth, few of them will consider farming as an attractive business. But that cannot be said about Nii – a young man whose interest in farming moved him to create a website that addresses major problems faced by farmers in Ghana. Read how it all began as he shares his story with your favourite column in the B&FT—Inspiring Start-ups.
Abraham Nii Omani Quaye, from a family of five, is the last born of three children. He is a past student of Accra-based Odorgonno Senior High School. From there he furthered his education at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where he studied Agriculture Science with major in Animal Science and graduated in 2012.
Nii has always showed interest in doing something related farming. That made him passionate about the plights farmers go through – i.e. post-harvest losses, lack of ready market among others – and had been thinking about what could be done to help them address some of these challenges.
In fact, even after his national service NIi had the desire to join the farming profession – but was advised by farmers to dismiss such thoughts, as it would only make him a poor man. And a poor man he didn’t want to be, so he gave up on joining the profession.
But as Howard Shultz, an American businessman once said: “When you are surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible”.
With the help of some of his friends, Nii took a different approach to helping the farmers, rather than join in farming.
The launch of ‘Farmart’
Nii, even though he has a degree in Animal Science, also dabbles in basic Computer Science and knows how to create codes and applications. So, he thought about creating an App or website that can directly link farmers with buyers, where farm produce can be ordered and purchased hassle-free.
After discussing the idea with some of his friends, they encouraged him to do it – knowing how they have all been passionate about the plight of farmers.
He then communicated the idea to the farmers, who even though not technology savvy gave him the green light to put them on the platform and see how things would turn out.
Nii finally launched his website and called it farmartghana.com. As of now, more than 800 farmers are selling their fresh farm produce using the website.
How Farmart Ghana works
After logging-on to farmartghana.com, a buyer is required to create account. When this is done, the buyer is then eligible to shop from a list of items – be it fruit or vegetables—with their prices attached to them.
After choosing the items, they are delivered to the buyer at his preferred destination within Accra and its environs.
Payments can be made on delivery or online, and also through mobile money. A helpline is also available on the site for buyers to call for complaints/queries or any other concerns.
With the above simple processes, a buyer can purchase fresh farm produce and it will be delivered right at his doorstep, hassle-free.
Even though his mode of operations—using the website—is a way of marketing in itself, Nii is not blind to the advantages social media offers for businesses today. He has accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, among others, where he advertises the website.
Also, he engages bloggers as another medium of advertisement.
Nii’s vison for Farmart is that it should be able to address some of the problems that confront farmers, especially with regard to post-harvest losses, and market accessibility.
In fact, he wants Farmart Ghana to be the household name for online shoppers of farm produce in Ghana.
The role of education
With his educational background in Agriculture Science, Nii believes it has helped shape his business by educating the farmers on what to grow, how to grow the produce, how to maintain it after harvest and many more. This has ensured that all produce delivered to buyers meets quality standards, and this he says has built a reputation for his business.
The addressing system challenge
A major challenge that confronts this business is the country’s poor addressing system, even with the coming onstream of Ghana Post GPS. It is a challenge, sometimes, to find the exact location of buyers who want their products delivered.
Advice to the youth
Nii advises that to pursue entrepreneurship, the youth should focus on solving a problem and not focus on the money. Money will come as a by-product along the way.
He further advises that patience and proactivity are required for a business to be successful, so the youth should learn to imbibe these qualities in order to become successful entrepreneurs.