Rev. Dr. Kwabena Darko (Akoko Darko)
|Other Names||Rev. Dr. Kwabena|
|Date of Birth||1943-10-23|
|Place||Bekwai, Ashanti Regi|
FOUNDER & CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD DARKO FARMS & CO. LTD.
Rev. Dr. Kwabena Darko, heads one of Ghana’s most successful private enterprises, Darko Farms & Co. Ltd. He is the principal shareholder of the family enterprise, which produces more than 50 percent of Ghana’s day-old-chicks, and a large proportion of its table eggs and dressed chicken. Darko has advanced poultry science in Ghana, receiving numerous awards of recognition for his contribution to the field.
His strong Christian beliefs, in large measure have been responsible for his thrift, shrewd business acumen and entrepreneurial drive. He has conducted leadership seminars in over 40 countries worldwide in his capacity as International Secretary of FGBMFI. In the course of his working and Christian life, Rev. Dr. Darko has held several responsible positions including the following:
- Farms Manager, Central Egg Farm, Kumasi 1960-1969
- Deacon (Elder), Assemblies of God Church 1965-1996
- Chairman & CEO, Darko Farms & Co. Ltd. 1969-Present
- President, Ghana Animal Science Association 1979-1983
- Interim President, Ghana National Council on Poultry 1979-1984
- President, Ghana National Council on Poultry 1984-1987
- Chairman, Board of Directors
- Assemblies of God Literature Center Ltd. 1986-1997
- Chairman, Board of Directors Assemblies of God Bookshops 1989-1995
- Member, Ghana Government “Think Tank” on Privatization- 1989-1991
- International Vice-President, FGBMFI (Africa) 1990-1995
- International Vice-President, FGBMFI 1990-1995
- Presidential Candidate, Ghana National Election 1992
- Member, Nominating Committee of the African Prize for Leadership 1994-Present
- Chairman, Sinapi Aba Trust 1994-Present
- International Secretary, FGBMFI, Costa Mesa, USA 1994-Present
- Vice-Chairman, African Business Roundtable 1995-1996
- Board Member, Empretec Ghana Foundation 1995-2002
- Chairman, Africa Regional Board, Opportunity International- 1996-2000
- General Overseer, The Oasis of Love International Church - 1996-Present
- Board Chairman, Opportunity International Network - 1997
- Board Member, Oasis International Training Center - 2000-Present
- External Board Member, The Bank of Ghana - 2001-Present
A keen and avid reader, especially of specialized journal on poultry, Rev. Dr. Darko has written and presented many feature articles including “The Broiler Industry in Ghana” which was published in Poultry International in 1994 and “Poultry Production in Ghana” which was presented at the Ghana Animal Science Symposium in 1984. Darko’s contributions to the nation, though not made with fanfare, have not gone unnoticed. In appreciation of his services to the nation, Rev. Dr. Darko, has received several awards/honors, and notable amongst them are:
1. Grand Medal “Order of the Volta”
National Award for his Contributions to Agriculture - 1978
2. Honorary Certificate for Selfless Devotion to Charity by Christian Voluntary Society - 1978
3. Award by Ghana Animal Science Association for Outstanding Contribution to the Association - 1982
4. Best Farmer Award, Royal Agriculture Show, London - 1984
5. Honorary Member, Ghana Science Association - 1985
6. National Best Poultry Farmer - 1986
7. Meritorious Award for Contribution to Charity by the Ghana National Trust Fund - 1990
8. Certificate of Honor for Voluntary Service and Contribution to Charity by the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development - 1990
9. The First General Superintendent Certificate of Honor
Assemblies of God Ghana - 1990
10. Certificate of Honor for Outstanding Contribution to the Ghana
Feed Millers Association - 1992
11. Junior Achievement of Ghana Business Hall of Fame - 1992
12. Ordained as The Minister Of The Gospel - 2000
13. Honoree Doctorate of Science Degree by KNUST - 2002
14. Honoree Doctorate of Divinity by Global Missions and Bible College London - 2002
These awards/honors apart, Rev. Dr. Darko was listed in the 1984 edition of “Who’s Who in World Poultry,” was a panelist on the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) sponsored seminar on “The Future of Financial Systems and Enterprise Finance in West Africa,” held in Dakar, Senegal. He is also frequently consulted for ideas on poultry by both governments and international agencies. He is a friend of many Heads of States and top government officials.
Rev. Dr. Darko is not only a Christian farmer. He is an agro-industrialist and a businessman with a wide range of international contacts and well-known in big financial circles like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), The World Bank, Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) and FMO, (a Dutch Financial Organization), to mention a few.
Rev. Dr. Darko finds time to be on the board of six other non-profit organizations, including Opportunity International Network (Chairman of the Board), African Business Roundtable (Vice-Chairman) Board of Directors, Sinapi Aba Trust (Chairman).
Known across Ghana, Darko Farms & Co. Ltd. is the largest privately owned agro-industrial concern in Ghana, with No. 1 poultry farm in West Africa. With a listing in “Who’s Who in World Poultry,” Darko is also known by many in the sub-region as “Poultry King.”
Darko Farms actually consists of a group of farms, plants and office complexes scattered across Ghana, with headquarters in Kumasi, in the culture-rich Ashanti region of Ghana.
The company consists of; a hatchery which produces about 5 million day-old-chicks a year (about 50% of the nations requirements), a layer parent farm with a bird population of about 40,000, 2 commercial layer farms with a bird population of 110,000, a broiler commercial farm with a bird population of about 110,000, a pullet rearing farm with a capacity for 70,000 pullets, a feed mill with an installed capacity of 40 tons of feed per day, a processing plant with an installed capacity of 7,500 birds per day and branch offices and sales outlets across the country.
Corporate Image: Ranked No. 1 in Ghana for excellence in product quality and good corporate citizenship.
Described as “a paradise in the countryside” by Poultry International magazine.
Winner of several national and international corporate awards
Market Position: Supplies more than 50% of Ghana’s poultry requirements. With a
Strategic alliance with TYSON FOODS INC. (global leader in poultry), Darko is poised to dominate the entire West African market.
INTERESTS:Kwabena Darko has the firm conviction that God has called him to serve his fellow man, and thus spends almost all of his free time in charity work or philanthropic activities. In addition, he is an ordained minister and together with his wife they, pastor a thriving church, Oasis of Love International Worship Center, preaching two services in two languages on Sundays. He is in demand as a speaker at numerous international conferences and seminars on entrepreneurial development and agro-industrial issues. (In fact, he exhausts no less than two entire passport booklets per year through frequent travel).
An avid interest in the economic welfare of his country led him to the political platform in 1992, when he stood as the presidential candidate for the National Independence Party during Ghana’s general elections.
He is the International Secretary of the Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI) and is responsible for the establishment of FGBMFI chapters across Africa, planting the highest number of chapters in one country – Ghana.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONA devout Christian of 57 years of age, Darko is married to Christiana, his wife of more than 30 years. They have six children, including Sam 33, Jonathan 30, and Maxine 27, who have all followed their father, having been groomed under his mentorship to assume top management positions in the company. Samuel, with a B.S. in Poultry Science from Kansas State University, currently heads the day-to-day administration of the company, Jonathan, a CPA from University of Houston, serves as the Chief Financial Officer and Maxine, with an Associates Degree in Nutrition and B.A. in Biology, heads the Chicken Processing Plant. Vernon, 31, earned a B.S. in Business Administration from Lee University, and is the CEO of Trans Atlantic Corporation in Houston. Mercy, 25, received a B.A. in Criminal Justice at University of Houston, and Bernice, 22, received a B.S. in Pre-Med at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
Darko and his wife Christiana have 5 grandchildren.
Rev. Dr. Christiana Darko is a Director of the company as well as the International Outreach Director for West Africa of The Women’s Aglow Fellowship International. She is the only African woman who has served on the International Executive Board of the Women’s Aglow Fellowship International.
Rev. Dr. Darko has had numerous magazine articles and papers presented at international conferences and seminars on entrepreneurship, the agro-industry, and international trade.
The Father’s Business: How to Succeed In the Midst of Third World Poverty The Darko Story: A Biography
REV. DR. KWABENA DARKO BIOGRAPHY
Rev. Dr. Kwabena Darko, 57, the founder and chairman of Darko Farms and Co. Ltd., has risen from very humble beginnings to become possibly the most famous industrialist in Ghana.
Today, the Darko name is a household across the country, not only because of his spectacular business success, or his fame as an itinerant evangelist and pastor, but also because he ran for the presidency during the 1992 general election. He counts among his friends, past and present Heads of States, industry leaders and CEOs of giant corporations worldwide.
For Darko all this did not come easily. Born to working class parents in a small town in Ghana’s Ashanti’s region, Darko lost his father at an early age. With the loss of the family breadwinner, young Darko had to combine petty trading with his schooling in order to supplement the family income. Times were hard, resources were scarce, and there were many mouths to feed. In fact, on many occasions the family did not know where the next meal was coming from but Darko did not lose hope. Eventually, he had to continue his education on a part-time basis in order to devote more time to his petty trading activities.
In the course of time, his mother remarried. Darko’s new father had a small chicken farm, and the enterprising young Darko set out about helping his stepfather on the farm. In typical fashion, Darko applied himself to the work, and soon proved he was capable of managing the farm in the absence of his stepfather.
With the help of his stepfather, he was able to gain a scholarship for further training at the Ruppin Institute in Israel, where he studied agriculture in general but majored in poultry science. On his return to Ghana, he worked at the Ghana State Farms Corporation, which had established a new poultry project in Africa.
Six months later he resigned and worked for his stepfather, who had by then embarked on commercial poultry farming. In those days, selling table eggs was regarded as the most viable commercial activity in the poultry industry, but it involved a lot of hard work, and Darko was not one to shy away from hard work. As a result, his stepfather’s business prospered under his hand, growing from 5,000 layer birds to 100,000 layer birds within 5 years. That was the beginning of great things to come.
Meanwhile, the Lord found him when he was 16 years of age and this had a profound effect on the young Darko. He quit his godless lifestyle and in spite of immense peer-pressure, turned his back on the youthful lusts common to his age group. He begun to hunger and thirst for the Lord, and sought nothing but to live and die for him. During this period, a young evangelist, Morris Cerrulo, had come to town to hold a crusade, and Darko who happened to be one of the counselors in his church as well as a youth leader, was asked to drive the evangelist from his hotel to the crusade grounds. It was a weeklong meeting, during which he noticed the difference between the Ghanaian ministers of the gospel and the foreign missionaries.
While the Ghanaian ministers were in faded shirts with frayed collars, their foreign counterparts looked sharp and well fed in their smart suits. Moreover, most of the Ghanaians were dressed in ancient oversized coats with folded sleeves handed down to them by the foreign missionaries. In fact, the Ghanaian men of God looked so lean that their foreign visitors looked like giants beside them. Darko was appalled! Was this the picture of the Ministry he had so longed to enter after enrolling in the Bible School?
It could not be.
What he saw had nothing in common with the promises of good for every believer, but rather a picture of poverty and want. He was very disturbed and troubled in his spirit.
He went into prayer, and the Lord laid it on his heart that someone would have to support these ministers. Darko did not need an angel to tell him that he was that “someone.” He suddenly felt a burden to care for the men of God – a burden that has remained to this day.
From then on he was decided. The Lord gave him a vision to use what he had (poultry science) to build a profitable business, which would be a financial support for the ministry to push the gospel. The long-term objective he had in mind was to build a giant complex; similar to those he had seen in Israel. Darko was convinced in his spirit that he could succeed on his own if he had been able to succeed with this stepfather’s business. After all, he had been faithful in another man’s business and he was sure that the Lord would honor His word by giving him his own.
All he had was a savings of US $1,000, his faith and a dream many thought was impossible. He bought 900 chickens, a 3-piece acre of land for US $50 and in April 1966 Darko Farms & Company was founded.
Since then, the company has grown from strength to strength, fueled by the tireless energy of a man who merely sees himself as a steward of God’s business. In fact, Darko refuses to be called a self-made man, and insists that he is “God-made.”
From the very beginning, his vision has been to build a vast business empire, which would support missions, orphanages and ministry work in general, and Darko has stuck to this commission with favor. Often, other industrialists question the wisdom in “throwing all that money away” but Darko calmly replies, “Any decision which helps me to obey the Lord is a good business decision. True success is to know the Lord and to obey him.”
In Ghana, it’s no secret that Darko has been paying his tithes faithfully since the age of 16, when he first met the Lord. In fact, it’s an integral part of his testimony, shared as a living witness that the Lord is true to His word on giving and receiving, and encourages others to give freely to the Lord.
Vernon D. Darko