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Poultry-pillaging dog sparks new family ventures

Ainsworth and Addia Brown’s journey to towards for agriculture and agro-processing all started with the neighbour’s unleashed dog.

The five weeks they spent feeding and caring for 2,000 chickens that they intended to sell to one of the island’s largest chicken producers, had come to naught in just one night when the neighbour’s dog found its way into the chicken coop.

Ainsworth, who had worked as an electrical engineer for most of his career before taking a leap of faith into animal rearing in 2009, woke up to the dreadful sight the next morning. None of the chickens he had been raising as an income source for his growing family had survived the attack.

His business with the poultry producer was put on hold, and so too was an inflow of cash he was expecting to care for the 8,700 animals he had remaining in the upper floor of two-level chicken coop.

The owners of the dog provided little help, and the community vendor who had promised to assist with supplying feed for the next batch of chickens, if they found themselves in difficulty, had a change of heart.

“We planned on starting the business with 10,700 chickens. We had just upgraded the chicken coop and the slaughtering facility and had 2,000 chickens that had come to full term. We were advised to take loans but we said no because we had some savings, and so we invested all our money. But we had a big loss, some person’s dog got away and killed all the birds,” Ainsworth recalled in an interview with the Financial Gleaner.

“When we were spending the last of our money, we had a conversation with the feed vendor that in the event we ran into difficulty, we would like them to advance us some feeds to complete the order and they said yes. But after the incident happened, they changed their minds and we had to watch the chickens eat each other,” he said, the memory of that dreadful night still fresh, though more than a decade has passed.


While pressure mounted on Ainsworth from his crumbling business venture, he also had other worries. His wife, Addia, was pregnant with their first boy, Ainsworth Jr.

She, too, had become weary of the ups and downs they were facing, and in hopes of finding solace and the inspiration they needed to begin their new chapter, the couple relocated to higher ground in St Mary, to a place called Three Hills.

There, Ainsworth would put to use agricultural skills he had ingrained in him by his father at an early age and Addia would also discover her passion for agro-processing.

“It was a stressful time for us. We lost $13 million from that incident, but looking back it has also been a blessing for us,” Ainsworth, now CEO of AA Farms, said.

The parish of St Mary is largely known for the production of bananas, sugar cane, citrus, cocoa and pimento. Within months Ainsworth had found therapy in farming the 10-acre plot of land they leased from the Government. But he was no stranger to swinging a machete and ploughing the ground. At a tender age, Ainsworth was taught sustainable agricultural techniques by his father and grandfather, farming practices that are used to guide his operations today, he said.

“When I was in high school, I was always interested in medicine and so I studied the sciences as well as electrical studies. My career options were to become a doctor or an electrical engineer, and for 17 years I worked with the engineering company Sampol in Jamaica and overseas.

“But I had always liked farming, my father and my grandfather were herbalists and so I started learning about plants, the benefits, how to use, prepare and store them from an early age,” he said, knowledge he shares with his three children Rebecca, Ainsworth Jr and Anthonyo Brown.

Ainsworth’s journey in commercial farming began with lemon grass, a cash crop that was high in demand, particularly in the tea manufacturing industry, and required little time to mature. Over time, Ainsworth added thyme, bananas, plantains, jackfruit, sugar cane, coconut, tomatoes, onions, among other crops to market on a commercial scale.

In February 2020, he registered the venture, AA Farms, and little by little grew volume output through contract farming arrangements with nearby farmers.

While her husband increased the crop variety on AA Farms and entered new arrangements, Addia was mulling how she could incorporate the herbs into her cosmetology business. Her work as a specialist in hair, nail, and skincare allowed her to flirt with natural ingredients, so when presented with the opportunity to formulate her own hair growth and rejuvenation products, she spared no effort getting down to business.

Surely, there were some hits and misses, but as newer raw materials became available and she developed a deeper understanding of production processes with help from local and international agricultural consultant, the quality of the products improved.


Over time, Addia’s Essential Oil became a brand of AA Farms under which the couple produces essential, cold-pressed and therapeutic oils. The oils range from rosemary, coconut, lemon grass, peppermint, moringa and avocado oils, to name a few. After perfecting her oils, Addia diversified into the production of moringa and avocado soap bars and hydrosols made from herbs and fruit.

The demand for essential oils in Jamaica runs north of US$40 million annually. At minimum, 90 per cent of the essential oils consumed in Jamaica is imported, but state-operated Jamaica Business Development Corporation, JBDC, is pumping $50 million towards the buildout of the essential oils unit at the JBDC’s Incubator Resource Centre in Kingston. The agency expects to hit the US$1-million target by year four of the programme, to partly plug imports to the island.

Addia’s oils are packaged in 15 ml, 30 ml, 2oz, 8oz and 16oz bottles that are retailed in pharmacies and salons nationwide.

“The oil line keeps growing. Recently we launched the hair-key scalp solution and we are reformulating our ginger pimento oil. We are working with an international company to perfect the product,” Addia, who is Sales and Marketing Manager of AA Farms, said.

The entrepreneurs also supply in bulk for local manufacturers like Morgan’s Creek.

“We started doing the oils from the herbs and but with Ainsworth’s background in electrical engineering I wanted to learn how to do distillation. He did some research and created a distillation machine for the business,” she said.

The duo has dreams of entering international markets, with eyes on diaspora markets like the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. But that requires investment in a larger processing facility, one that would run five times the size of the processing facility the couple currently uses.

Ainsworth has set a budget of US$1.3 million and a timeline of three years to have the processing facility completed, pending building approvals. The plan is to quadruple the company’s current production numbers in the first instance, which would be enough, he says, to comfortably supply Addia’s Essential Oil local customers and to dip its toes in the international market.

The building, which will be used for processing, packaging and storage, will span 8,000 square feet.

“Our demand is high and growing. We need to upgrade our equipment to produce 10 times the numbers that we are producing now. It’s coming along but slowly because we are looking for financing, possible to partner with an investor,” Ainsworth said.

But an expansion of the essential oil business is not the only venture the couple is pursuing. Ainsworth and Addia also dream of erecting a health and wellness facility, a project they plan to spend another US$700,000 on.

Ainsworth wants to have the new processing facility up and running in five years, along with the health and wellness centre. Phase one will see the build of four rooms, each equipped to house one or two visiting relatives. In the second phase AA Farms will add another six rooms.

The company will push its oils and herbal therapy as part of the service offerings at the health and wellness centre which is targeted at both local and international clients.

“It’s to treat persons who are ill, and get therapy for whatever situation they are faced with,” Ainsworth said.

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