Indian engineer turns big farmer in Ghana

Accra: Perhaps India’s agricultural prowess inspired him. Prabhpreet Khinda, an engineer by training, arrived in Ghana in 2009 after he was devastated by the effects of the 2008 global financial meltdown. Twists and turns later, the 38-year-old from Punjab is today one of the big farmers in the West African country.

His original plan was to use the country as a base in order to be close to Liberia, where he had a mining project, but that has changed as he now tends land to produce food in anticipation of a global food shortage.

His company, Resources Africa, has a 2,200- hectare farm at Dzigbe, near Kpandu in the Volta region and is planning to acquire 2,000 hectares more for an integrated farming project.

The company has become a major food producer, exporting about one and a half tonnes of vegetables every week. Ghana, a country of 24 million people, is known for cocoa exports.

The man who describes himself as an investment entrepreneur is clearly preparing himself for the future. “It is projected that the world is heading towards a food shortage and some of us are just getting ready to cater to that,” Khinda told IANS in an interview.

Apart from making money on his investments, he said, Resources Africa is contributing to Ghana’s development in its own small way.

“Our exports alone are a major source of earning foreign exchange for the country,” he said. “I was inspired by the work of some other Indians who were already engaged in farming in Ghana and this urged me on.”

Khinda said after his arrival in Ghana, he noticed that the agricultural sector had huge potential.

“I was lucky to have met a very good chief, Togbi Dagadu of Kpandu, who provided me with all the assistance that I needed to start work immediately,” he said.

He was, however, critical of the country’s land tenure system.

“When I decided to look for land, it took almost a year before I got access to it and paid for it. However, the land owners allowed me to start work immediately,” he said.

Khinda said his entry into agriculture was not an accident.

“I come from Punjab and have a family background of farmers,” he said.

Already his activities have attracted the attention of some people in India, who have been calling to find out how to acquire land to get into farming in Ghana.

He is also optimistic about the future because “even though agriculture is slow in providing returns, the business is very consistent.”