Mrs. Salma Abdulai is the Chief Executive Officer of Unique Quality Product Enterprise. With a background in Agriculture Science from her senior high school level, she continued her education at the University for Development Studies where she studied Agriculture Technology and majored in Agricultural Economics and Extension. In addition to that, she has a postgraduate degree in MPhil Agricultural Economics from the same University.
Salma Abdulai has 9 years of experience working on different projects with international non-profit organizations. She has extensive experience in the agriculture sector, particularly working with small scale rural farmers and women groups. The company is a reflection of her experience and passion for agriculture and social consciousness. Mrs. Abdulai is currently responsible for the overall management of the company and its day-to-day operations.
“High influx of imported food products in the country is making local goods less competitive”
You started your company in 2013; can you tell us what the first 6 months was like?
The first 6 months were vague, even though the results to achieve were clear, the process was not very clear to me. It was all about planning on how to take off, where to get the necessary materials, how many women farmers should we support, what other equipment do we require? It felt like there were a lot of things to be done by one person.
What support system and tools have helped you in the course of running your enterprise?
We constituted an advisory board, which had diverse experiences in various fields to advise us on key decisions the enterprise took. This actually reduced the risk we faced against some of the actions we made. It also helped the business stay focused and concentrated on very important things in the midst of the limited resources.
Attending networking events has brought the enterprise a lot of referrals in terms of market and financing. We weren’t able to attend all, but we made it a point to attend as many as possible.
Social Media has become the most popular marketing and information tool; we use social media for marketing and sharing a lot of information on our product.
I also got a lot of support from family in terms of resources and advice.
What are some of the challenges facing the agricultural sector?
High influx of imported food products in the country is making local goods less competitive.
Inadequate funding because of the risk associated with this sector, adding the adverse effect of the impact of climate change in this sector is making it more difficult to get funding.
Lack of implementation of government policies on agriculture.
What do you think the government can do to improve the agricultural sector in Ghana?
Make good policies to favour small business in the agribusiness sector, by developing and promoting policies that directly affect the growth of the sector. This can include cutting down on importation of food products, increase capacity of farmers to produce more and support businesses to absorb increased food surplus by adding value.
Enhance institutions that directly deal with farmers with the necessary resources to do so. Create a favorable environment for small businesses to thrive. Also the government should strive to reduce bureaucracy in our public institutions.
Failure is part of succeeding Click To Tweet
Share with us the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt about yourself and others from your journey in life thus far?
I have learnt to believe in myself. When I believe that I can do something, I end up doing it, even if I face a lot of challenges. Others believe in you if you believe in yourself. Failure is part of succeeding. It is not always the decision you have made that you will always succeed at, but believe me, if you fail, you become stronger and wiser.I have learnt to believe in myself Click To Tweet
What three skills have helped you overtime in business?
Time management, Routine planning of daily activities, patience.
What’s the most courageous thing you have done?
The most courageous thing I have done is reviving a cereal that went extinct in my area and getting women to produce it even when they did not have access to land.
If you were to host few friends for lunch, what meal would you make with Fonio?
I will prepare Fonio chicken salad for lunch and Fonio pudding for dessert.
Are you in the agricultural business? How has your experience been thus far?
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