Getting Started in Ghana
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Attieku Patience
Posted on: November 01, 2006

I wish to go into the herb business but do not know how. Please help me to gain some knowledge in herb growing or harvesting from the wild and link to buyers. I am counting on you.

The crops and markets are different in each region but the basic principles of identifying crops and markets are the same. Here are a few points to help you to develop your business plan.

1. Most buyers will not buy your product without seeing samples.

2. Most buyers will not give you an order on the basis of a promise to grow herbs or to collect them from the wild. If they like your samples and they have an immediate need, then they will place an order for immediate delivery. This means that they expect you have inventory available from which to ship.

3. You must invest time and money to produce an initial crop without any assurance that you can sell it.

4. You should start small because many things can go wrong. For example, the samples may not be of a high enough quality for buyers, or your cost of production or collection may be higher than the price offered, or buyer needs can change in the time it takes to produce a crop. Start with at least three different crops to help spread the risk around.

5. To identify potential crops to grow or to collect from the wild, start with what you know already grows in your area. Ghana is rich in medicinally-active plants, many of which are articles of international commerce. At first, avoid crops that are not proved to be viable in your area. We have seen unproven crops fail because of unforeseen pest problems, lack of pollinators, climatic variables, etc.

6. Consider organic certification. Increasingly buyers are looking for organic product. Even if a market is already well served by existing growers, very often there are still market opportunities for certified organic products.

7. Research your crops! You should aim to be knowledgeable about your crops and your potential buyers before you plant your first seed or collect your first herb from the wild.

8. Always remember that getting into the herb business requires patience, determination, ingenuity, and hard work. But when you are established and buyers know what you can do it gets easier and more profitable.

9. Avail yourself of resources to help you get started. Richters offers the e-book, "Getting Started," and the book "Herbal Harvest", as well as many other books for the commercial grower. Check the "GrowerZone" section of our website for a list of books.

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