When the investment is right; the outcome is ‘rice’ [Article]

Over time, Nana’s rice is gradually becoming a household brand that’s competing fairly on the market and shelves. Aside from filling the bellies of million households across the country; it’s also making a direct impact on the lives of many along the rice value chain.

While many customers ordered Nana’s rice for Christmas, the deliberate orders from the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei Opare, made a significant impact.

Besides supplies from Agro Kings’ thousand-acre commercial rice farm, purchases were made from over 30 small holder farmers within the network of out-growers to supplement its supply shortfalls. Each of these small holder farmers received approximately GHc24, 000. This ripple effect creates liquidity for the sprayers, harvesters, and planters along the farm.

Eight more people were gainfully employed from the Kasunya community to dry the freshly harvested rice before milling.

Milling centres during this period received about GHc 200,000 each for milling the produce. This amount of money creates an impression on lives and livelihoods that can’t be directly measured but can’t be underestimated either.

The company that produces brands and packaging stickers received orders exceeding 20,000 stickers for an approximate value of GHc12,000.

Casual workers who loaded and offloaded the rice; numbering about 12 received over GHc500 in a week. This is the monthly remuneration of many in very high levels at some work places tagged as ‘white color jobs’.

Trucks hired to cart the rice from the farm at Kusunya to various destinations, and then, for last mile distributions by delivery vans came at a cost, a cost which translates into jobs and income. The trucks hired made over GHc8,000 each.

These are the phenomenal effect made in the lives of many families. These are Ghanaian families who hitherto would’ve been demonstrating as members of the “Unemployed Graduates Association.” When the investment is right, the outcome would not be only “rice” but absolutely right to keep the Ghanaian economy on the right footing. This contributes to the decline in unemployment figures that literally culminate into less crime rates.

Presently, the company has invested millions to produce the Nana rice. An investment that has gained the government’s attention as it strives to reduce the swelling unemployment figures. The firm has engaged the services of university graduates, most significantly, females at various levels of production, thereby sustaining livelihoods.

Interacting with the CEO of Agro Kings, Nana Owusu-Achau, one gets to appreciate and admire the passion of a young man who left his well-paid job at Wall Street in the US to wander in the bush. While many, especially the youth, dream of non-existent or limited greener pastures at the Wall Street or Times Square, Agro Kings is ticking the times of the season on the ‘wall’ to harvest Ghana’s green rice. That’s what makes the difference.

Ghana’s rice consumption and tons of imports need no highlights. But, like the blacksmith, the more he hits the hammer at a particular spot, the obvious intent it is to mould the metal to the right shape.

The essence of Ghana’s rice import to the detriment of local production can’t be understated. According to data, rice imports have more than doubled to over 1.2 Billion dollars from about 600 million dollars annually. Hence, it’s our fervent hope that the local rice industry grows to support and shield the local economy from external ‘missiles’ from Ukraine. This is exactly what the Agro Kings, producers of Nana’s rice, are committed to. “It’s a crime to keep importing rice while fertile land, water and good weather abound” says the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.

More often than not, the nation becomes conscious of the consumption of local rice when the campaign is intensified, but the reverse becomes the order when demand outstretches supply. Consumers bounce back to imported brands and the cycle becomes endless. Agro Kings, producers of Nana’s Rice, started commercial production barely few years ago giving hope and meaning to the future dreams of many.

Like any business in its formative stage, the challenges were enormous but surmountable.

The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, delivering a speech at the launch of the Ghana Cares Economic enclave, said he remembers vividly how people mocked him when he was walking at Ghana’s brisk business centre – Agbogbloshi, selling products from his firm – Databank. “People were asking what was wrong with me. Why did I leave a well-paid job in the States to establish a bank in Accra?”

But you know, the thing about passion is that you can achieve anything when you put your mind to it, he asserted.

He shared these words of encouragement when he joined the Chief of Staff to officially launch the Ghana Cares Obatanpa program that was aimed at cultivating about 10,000 acres of rice and some vegetables. This initiative, according to the finance minister, was geared towards ensuring food and job security as the government seeks IMF intervention amidst economic pressures.

Nana’s rice cultivation, production, and consumption must be deliberate. When everyone gets involved, Ghana’s rice imports will shrink over time. Support the Ghanaian local farmer by consuming Nana’s Rice.

Agro King grateful to the chief of staff

The conscious effort on the part of the presidency through the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, to patronize made-in-Ghana rice supported the growth of Nana rice during the festive season and management and staff are grateful for the patronage.