Cornell University, which has the best agricultural college in the United States of America, taught me a lot. You learn that real wealth is in the soil. The soil is where we can generate a lot of employment so I find it difficult when we sit and say “Unemployment” because when you drive for ten miles, you see nine miles of unused land, Blue Skies co-founder Seth Dei disclosed.
Coming from a farming village, Dei said the idea of getting into agribusiness came to him naturally.
Speaking to the moderator for the day, Citi FM’s Bernard Avle, Dei, stated that the Blue Skies idea was initially not his but that of a friend he met in the United States of America named Anthony Pile.
“Blue Skies, first of all, was not my idea. Towards the end of 1997, I was in my office when Anthony Pile and another gentleman, Bruce, came to my office. Anthony Pile said he wanted to start a business in Ghana. He said back in England, he worked in a company that cut fresh fruit for the market. He said noticed that the fruit was imported from Costa Rica to England to cut and therefoe suggested to his bosses to take the factory to Africa where fruit can be cut fresh before export. His bosses however did not take kindly to this and fired him.”
Undeterred however, the duo, through hard work and determination, now employ 2000 workers at their Nsawam factory, 250 at their Egypt factory and quite a number in the Brazil and South Africa factories.
Seth stated categorically that the idea was not pinned on expanding globally but since the fruit from Ghana had on and off seasons; and in an attempt to satisfy customers at all cost; factories had to be set up in Egypt, Brazil and South Africa to get fruits all year round.
“We did not start thinking about positioning our business for global expansion but when we were unable to get watermelon in Ghana to cut and export to the European market, we established a factory in Egypt to take care of this. The same happened with Brazil when it came to mangoes and South Africa because we have opposite seasons and also because they have soft tropical fruit that doesn’t grow in Ghana”
He advised all present to work hard and straight, avoid cutting corners, and they will get to where they want to.
All roads led to the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel on Thursday, March 27th as many people thronged the venue of the 11th MTN Business World breakfast meeting to listen to Blue Skies co-founder, Seth Dei talk about how to position their businesses for global expansion.