Richard Addison sees the youth in agribusiness one district at a time

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Agricultural entrepreneur ‘Agriprenuer’ Richard Addison has double downed in his belief that the youth of Ghana, including him, deserve to be the face of agriculture as the country continue on its path to become a major contributor to Africa’s food basket.

As the CEO of Kent Investment, a multi-layered firm that currently holds investments in the fields of agriculture, haulage services, IT/information system and management company that also consult and implement solutions for district assemblies revenue mobilization, and recently acquired major stake in a digital graphics and advertising company, Richard in 2020 is adding 50 acres of land to his 30 acres of rice farm in the Western Region.

A visit to Richard’s farm last year gave an insight into Kent Farms operations and youthful team where Richard and his team started rice farms on a small scale and expanded into other rice growing areas, as well investing in poultry farming.

He gave a tour of his now five-year-old 30-acre rice farm in the Shama District which employs over 60 locals from land preparation, planting, harvesting and milling to transporting produce to the market.

Richard and his team at Kent Farms are young business men and women who are passionate about farming and are investing into farming considering the partnerships they have established, land they have acquired and the yield they harvest annually.

Speaking to some of his team it’s clear they don’t want Kent Farms, to be sustainable. “Sustainable,” as far as they’re concerned, is too low a bar. Instead, Richard said, they want Kent Farms to be regenerative and a testimony that can serve as evidence to draw the youth to agriculture.

For the last six years, Kent Farms have focused on how to get the young corporate executives who work in other industries to consider farming as another income stream when looking for investment options.

Richard is speaking with a few district executives in District Assemblies that are agric oriented to implement agrobusiness modules that will go a long way to serve as a source of revenue for the districts to be self-sufficient and have resources for developmental projects.

One of Kent Farms’ goal, as a business with a young leader, is to entice Ghanaian youth into farming by pushing for policy makers to consider ‘Districts in Agric’ which is more of wholistic solution which will help districts who rely heavily on the Common Fund to raise internal funds and also give the youth easy access to land, equipment and expertise as they take responsibility of finding lasting solutions to Ghana’s food problem.

“In the 20th century, a heal the world was composed to aid Africa. In the 21st century, I think it’s time for Africa to feed itself and the rest of the world.”

Profile of Richard Addison

Richard Addison is the CEO of Kent Investment, a multi-layered firm that currently holds investments in the fields of Agriculture, Kent Farms; haulage services, ARE Haulage Services; an IT/information system and management company (K.SIS) and recently acquired major stake in a Digital Graphics and Advertising company (Beyound Graphics).

“Mostly my interest to start up different businesses really got off in 2010 because my goal as an investor is to attain high competitiveness and strive to find the cutting edge to pioneer new fronts in various industries I have interest in.”

Richard grew up in Takoradi and spent some of his formative years in the U.K. It provided him with a learning ground for business as during weekends and holidays he found himself going round with his father – the renowned investor and entrepreneur Dr. J.A. Addison on some of his business dealings and business related social events.

From this early age, Richard’s family had instilled in him a humanitarian spirit which led to the creation of The Richard Addison Foundation (TRAF), a non-profit organization which focuses on projects ranging from farming, provision of water and renovation of schools for deprived communities which he has been doing for the past ten years.

“I always have this thing about people around me smiling. I don’t smile a lot and so I like people around me to smile for me. The look of reprieve and appreciation on people’s faces when you do stuff for them is what drives me. While I believe in development through market-based solutions, I do also believe that I have a moral responsibility as a privileged African to give back,” says Richard. “In the absence of government action, it is incumbent on non-profit organizations to fill the void.”

Personally I have a goal to see people do well or better, see Ghana emerge as one of the greatest countries in Africa, reaching the highest attainable recognition on the world business stage.”

Richard made his way from Chapel Hill School, Mfantsipim School, Blundell’s School in Tiverton Devon and thence to Kingston University all in the UK, graduated with a degree in Economics in 2004. “I’m most excited and passionate about technology and how it can improve lives. I’m also passionate about Arsenal Football Club, rugby, farming, family and people’s wellbeing generally.

“From the very onset, I have been highly opportunistic but in obvious positive ways,” he says. “Opportunity, opportunity, and opportunity; we all set out to pursue various things in life but the most successful people in life are the ones that respond to opportunity when it comes calling. These calls come in various ways and times; you might be broke, incapable and not in your strongest of positions, when you align yourself with the right people, a lot can be attained.”

So far, Richard and Kent Investments have focused on agriculture, broadcasting, drilling and haulage services and technology, which are ventures that he believes can turn a profit while transforming lives – essential to an African context.

In farming, Richard and his team have started rice farms in Ghana, which they hope to expand into other rice growing areas in Africa, as well investing in poultry farming. A 30-acre rice farm he started in the Shama District in 2014 employs over 60 locals from land preparation, planting, harvesting and milling to transporting produce to the market.

“I wanted to own a big farm and thinking about how much Ghana and Africa are spending on rice imports alone, I thought ‘Let me take ten percent of that, yes a bit silly and over ambitious,” says Richard.

“I went ahead to purchase 30 acres of land to peruse my ambitious dream without knowing so much about agric and for that much rice farming. I lost all the investment and had to go back to the drawing board. After consultation and careful planning, considering loses from the previous year, 2016 was good and we managed to reap a harvest of 12 acres plus a lot of experience, hopefully we will increase the yield this year.

My vision is to see more young people come together and enter into start-ups to grow Ghana and Africa as a whole. It is difficult, but I think when we unite as like-minded people and also seek the favour of God, a lot can be achieved. We are not poor as a nation or continent, we are just not coming together to see the light and our abilities.”

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