Michael Annan-Forson, C.EO. Melach coconut processing farm, holds a Bachelors’s degree in Business Administration (HR Management) and MBA in Human Resource and Organization Management. He worked at different formal sectors including international NGO, Health Industry, and Oil & Gas Industry for twelve years with wide experiences in the field of HR Management. He climbed through the ladder from personnel officer, records officer, administrative assistant, administrative officer, human resource manager and director of human resources. He positively changed the status-quo of all the organizations he worked with to benefit the workforce and to achieve the objectives of the organizations.
Michael Annan-Forson worked in Bangkok, Thailand in an organic coconut oil processing company called Ichie Coconut Processing International between 2001 and 2004 as HR Manager at the Anglophone section of the Thailand company. His former boss in Thailand used to rotate all administrative staff to production and unto the farm to get an understanding of what goes on in production. This went on for years which planted interest, skills, and experience in coconut processing.
After his return to Ghana in 2005, he began to produce organic coconut oil from his kitchen for his family and friends. This was to raise awareness of the various uses and benefits of the product. Convinced that he could promote coconut oil’s use in Ghana, Michael started saving funds from his position as an HR manager with World Vision in Accra. After accumulating sufficient funds he established his own pilot’ production capacity.
He used his own saved funds, totaling $7,800 to set up the company. He acquired workspace in Accra, Bought equipment to run the business and manually produce the oil itself. Michael’s Melach produced 200 liters of packaged sample oil, that was sent out to potential purchasers, who stated the product was of a high standard.
After undertaking all the tasks of producing coconut oil and administering the business, Michael recruited a Marketing Manager (Joseph Mensa) to support him while he put more time into managing the manual production process and sourcing the raw material (coconuts) from farmers in the north of Ghana. With orders and product development activities taking up more of his time, Michael recruited a raw-material source (Anita Aba Korsah) to take some of the workloads off his shoulders. Today, Melach Coconut Processing Farm has 13 additional permanent staff and 16 casual staff all at production.
Melach Coconut Processing Farm is a limited liability company specialized in processing coconut into organic products such as (1) high-quality organic cold-pressed coconut oil using 100% fermentation method only without heat, not refined, not deodorized, no additive, (2) fresh coconut water (3)coconut flour, (4) carbonized coconut shell charcoal, (5) organic coconut shell ashes potash, and (6) coconut vinegar all on large quantities with production capacity of 20tons daily. Melach trades with the product brand name ‘Ropheka’.
Melach currently produces for the following sectors: Health & Beauty, Food and Hospitality Sectors. Melach was registered as a company in January 2016 but has been operational fulltime since 2014. Melach Coconut Processing Farm has a very strong social impact philosophy working with local schools in the farming community to raise health awareness. Melach has customers in Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Togo, the USA, the Netherlands, Israel, and Russia.
What inspired you into food processing?
Africa was one of the leading continents where civilization even started from but today Africa has become mendicants of everything including food. Rich and fertile land and yet hunger and malnourishment is killing Africa. Ghana, with all her rich vast land and yet we import almost 96% of everything we eat. This insight inspired me to enter into food processing.
What advice do you have for people in paid employment, interested in starting a business? From your experience what should they do to establish a successful business
Integrity, patience, committed to growing gradually, remain focus, start small, and never go for a loan when you are a startup.
Where do you see your business in the next 5 to 10 years?
We would be feeding Africa with our coconut products and also supply to the rest of the world.
What advice do you have for young people interested in food processing?
That they should embrace integrity in all that they do. Food processing and agriculture is the future for Africa to regain her glory, they should take this pathway seriously. This industry is worth more than ‘’white-color job’’.
How do you think Africa can attain food security?
When Africa flourishes, the world wins.
The history of economic development shows that countries can only really start to flourish once they’ve matured beyond subsistence agriculture. When food security increases for the population as a whole, the door to other economic opportunities opens. And as people spend a smaller share of their income on food, they can divert their time and money to other areas — such as education and consumer goods.
Taking a broader perspective, if Africa could become a major food producer and a net food exporter over the next three decades, the global food supply would be able to keep pace with population growth.
The global agribusiness industry can play an essential role in this story — especially in areas such as knowledge-sharing, technology investment, access to credit, secure land rights, crop inputs, and advanced farming techniques.
As Nigeria’s agriculture and rural development minister, Akinwumi Adesina, famously said when he was named Forbes’ Africa Person of the Year in 2013: –I, too, have a dream. That soon our barns in Africa will be filled with plenty, our children will dance once again on our lush farmlands when Africa finally becomes the global powerhouse in food — feeding itself and feeding the world”.
That dream is achievable. With the right approach, global agribusiness companies are positioned to accelerate its realization and share in the rewards it will generate.
Melach Coconut Processing Farm-Ghana is ever ready to step out and be part of Africa’s success story.
Location: Plot 3, Block 7, Trede New Site, Atwima Kwawomang District, Kumasi, Ashanti region, Ghana.
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