'Two years experience here is the equivalent of ten in Ireland'
Darragh McCullough meets a Louth man learning the meat business trade in Ghana
Published 16/12/2015 | 02:30
It's 2013, and 23 year-old Andrew Agnew from Castlebellingham in Co Louth needs a job.
He's got a degree in agricultural science from Ballyhaise and Dundalk IT, and has experience working on a few farms. But he's a people-person, as evidenced by his time spent helping out local politicians during elections.
"I saw a job online from AgraKepak for a sales and logistics representative in Ghana," recalls Agnew.
"To be honest, I wasn't too sure about it initially. I'd worked for three months with an agri-contractor in New Zealand, but that was the only time I'd ever been away, and that was with a bunch of lads."
Ghana was a very different prospect. Situated on Africa's west coast, the former English colony is surrounded by Francophone Togo, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. It is also one of the poorest regions on the planet.
Against this backdrop, after two interviews and a job offer, Agnew decided to take the plunge. Now that he's reach the end of his two-year stint in Africa, he knows that it really was a chance-of-a-lifetime.
"I really didn't know what I was getting into. I had no idea of the culture, and I had no experience in the meat trade or logistics," he revealed.
"I didn't even know that people ate the kind of stuff that we sell here. We sell container-loads of cows feet for example. There's absolutely no meat on them, but people here chop them up and use them as stock for soups and stews. It's probably one of the better things that I've eaten out here!