Vozbeth completed his first degree at the University of Cape Coast (Ghana) in 2016, after which he started farming post his national service. His family was against his decision to ditch the certificate they had painstakingly paid for over four years.
Initially, Vozbeth lacked the business ideas and mindset to operate the farm business, as well as how to recruit and retain staff.
So he came to YALI to purposely understand what it takes to be a leader, learn about governance and the management of resources. At YALI, areas of governance and proposal writing helped Vozbeth to start on the right footing. The business started just around the time he started YALI training. After YALI, Vozbeth applied his leadership learning lessons to his business and turned the business around. He was able to register his business, set up a board and streamline the operations of Vokia Farms. He went a step further to engage his community members as part of his strategy to get those in his immediate surroundings involved in his work.
The business is currently into crop farming, agro-processing, livestock and has a social arm that supports the community. Vozbeth supports small holder farmers in his community with low yield by putting beehives on the farms of these beneficiary farmers. The relocated bees thus pollinate the crops, which increases crop growth. This idea of using beehives to boost crop pollination was birthed during YALI training. He also supports his community through the provision of hybrid seedlings.
So far, Vozbeth’s indirect way of promoting the YALI brand is by recommending the businesses of YALI alumni to those who need these services. He now combines animal rearing with crop farming, while processing the produce from his farms for sale. Initially, Vozbeth started with snail rearing, bee keeping, and was later to add crop farming on a 50-acre maize farm, from which he produced his first two main products: millet and cassava flour. Through market research across five towns, he saw the need to add more products since his research revealed that most of his competing shops bought their goods from the Ghanaian capital, Accra, and not in the Volta region, where his business is based. He therefore set out to provide the alternative yet locally produced products to match those from the national capital.
A range of Vokia Farms products on display Photo credit: James Anquandah
Currently, Vokia Farms has 10 products, comprising millet and cassava flour, corn grates (locally called ekuagbemi and oblayo), koose powder, apapransa hausa kokoo flour, fermented corn granules (korkli), and mixed banku flour.
In addition, Vozbeth has and operates a locally produced 400-egg capacity incubator, with which he hatches eggs both for his farm and for that of community members. The latter, he does for a fee. Vokia Farms also hosts some 300 crossbreed poultry, 491 chicks and 40 guinea fowls chicks, all fed with waste from the business’ agro-processing to avoid waste and any possible pollution to the environment. In 2022, Vozbeth was adjudged the best farmer in the Volta region, a feat which speaks to his resilience and success in agribusiness in the region.
Vozbeth proudly displays his winning prize as best farmer in the Volta region Photo credit: James Anquandah
Vokia Farms also hosts some 300 crossbreed poultry, 491 chicks and 40 guinea fowls chicks, all fed with waste from the business’ agro-processing to avoid waste and any possible pollution to the environment.
In the next 10 years, Vozbeth hopes to expand his operations to meet demands from the United States and Netherlands for his products. His products have been recommended by the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) but he is unable to meet the demand, for which he intends expanding in the coming years to meet this demand. In doing this, he hopes to recover at least 30% of the retail shops in Volta region, where his business is based in the next three years and expand to neighbouring countries thereafter. He is currently working on a 10-acre production site, which is expected to be completed by July 2023.
Alongside this, Vozbeth has trained small holder farmers in safe farming practices and helps them to improve their business positively. These farmers, in turn, sell their produce to Vokia Farms.