Bernard takes one step forward

Bernard displays his mushrooms

Bernard is a young graduate with a first degree in Psychology from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. After completing his national service requirement, he traveled from his village, Kumawu, to look for a job in the capital city of Accra, but found none.

In July 2014, Bernard enrolled at the Self-Help International Frances Mueller and Virginia Lageschulte Training Center at Nkwakrom in Ashanti region of Ghana with three objectives: to acquire knowledge and skills in mushroom production, to start his own enterprise, and to create employment for the youth.

Having completed his training in August 2014 he set up a mushroom production business in his home village of Kumawu. The business, Fobi Farms, is named after his mother, Georgina Agyare, a.k.a. Fobi, who was adjudged the 2012 Sekyere Kumawu District Best Farmer. Fobi Farms currently employs three people; a male and two females.

Bernard inside the incubation house

The production facility, which is located at Bernard’s residence, is large enough to house 396 mushroom bags and produces 20 pounds of mushrooms a week. Generally 1kg (2.2 pounds) of mushrooms is sold for 5 Ghanaian cedis ($1.55) on the local markets. Fobi Farms sells a half pound for 2 Ghanaian cedis ($0.62) due to value addition process: products are packaged with the producer’s contact information and materials used for the production.

Bernard has established contacts with two health facilities located at Kumawu: Jesus Care Voluntary Clinic and Kumawu Health Centre. Both facilities recommend mushrooms from Fobi Farms to their clients. The doctors are particularly happy with the packaging.

Bernard tells Self-Help that initially his parents, especially his mother, did not support the idea of self-employment, but after the first harvest and the professional packaging of the mushrooms, he now receives enormous support from them. Bernard tells Self-Help the prospects for his business are good and he plans to expand the infrastructure at an initial cost of 970 cedis ($300.78). He has so far mobilized 320 cedis ($99.23) and Self-Help is helping with the difference through a micro-loan.

Last month, Bernard was awarded the National Famer’s Day Award by the Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of agriculture in Ghana.

Thank you for your support of the Ghana Training Center. Your donation is making it possible for young farmers, like Bernard, to start and grow awarding winning businesses