Meet Nana Owusu-Achau, the founder of Agro Kings, a Ghana-based company that produces the thriving locally-grown rice brand called Nana’s Rice.
Nana, who was born and raised in Ghana, got an opportunity to work at a prestigious Wall Street firm after earning his Business & Information Systems degree in the US. However, he decided to come back to Ghana to use his skills with hopes to benefit the Ghanaian people.
He first ventured into a real estate business and started his own property firm in 2013. Two years later, he tried to enter the agricultural field through a cattle-rearing business and then a maize project but it failed due to his inexperience at the time.
In 2017, Nana discovered high-quality and better-tasting rice through a local chief in a rural town. Even though it requires a more expensive and modern farming approach, he grabbed the opportunity to help local farmers produce and supply him with high-quality rice.
Nana first sold the rice, which was put in basic packaging, to his WhatsApp contacts. The demand for his product eventually increased as customers love its taste. That’s when he expanded the business, hired 300 smallholders, acquired 10,000 acres of fully irrigated land, and even improved the packaging and branding.
“We are spending a bit more on production and producing attractive packaging,” he told How We Made It in Africa. “It is common for people to think that local produce is not of good quality and not packaged properly. We want Ghanaians to know it is possible to produce at the same level of excellence as imported brands and even better.”
Currently, Nana’s Rice is available in about 200 convenience stores in Accra, Ghana. Its products are also sold in the US, UK, Belgium, and Germany. Though it has been challenging to convince other retailers to stock the product since it is more pricey than other locally produced brands, Nana is very confident it will reach larger supermarkets nationally and even internationally.