President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghanaian business empire, Groupe Nduom, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, has officially opened the Worawora Rice Mill Factory which will produce ‘Edwumawura’ perfumed rice.
It is expected that some 5,000 farmers and other workers will be employed with about 20,000 people benefitting directly and indirectly.
A colourful ceremony attended by District Agricultural Officers, chiefs and farmers was held yesterday at the premises of the Mill in Worawora in the Volta region.
In an address, Dr. Nduom noted that it was a great day for Worawora and Ghana adding that the operations of the Mill will make the town more popular in Ghana.
He added that his conglomerate [from media to financial services to industry] is known in the region and that key managers hail from there making GN part of the region.
“The people of Volta region are hardworking people and are experts in their respective fields. They will make this Mill work,” he said.
He lamented that Ghana spends $1.2 billion on rice importation.
“Imagine the jobs and development we are giving to America, Vietnam and Thailand. Our example should encourage other investors to emulate our example and in 4 to 5 years, all the $1.2 billion will stay in Ghana for roads, hospitals, schools and in the pockets of farmers,” he said.
Dr. Nduom urged the workers to take their work seriously and announced that farmers will be readily paid for their produce with life insurance packages.
He encouraged other people to invest in the sector.
Managing Director at Ghana Growth Fund Company (GGFC,) the investing arm of GN, Kwame Asomaning, in a welcome address explained that GN now owns a major stake in the factory and therefore has plans of expanding to other parts of the sub-region.
He indicated that the factory will provide employment and support for local farmers in the Volta and Northern regions.
Mr. Asomaning urged Ghanaians to buy the Edwumawura Rice since after harvest will be ready on the market in a fortnight time for consumption rather than the sometimes 10-year-old imported rice.
“Ghana has 580,000 acres of land that can produce 1.7 million tonnes of rice to feed the entire country so why import? We borrowed $940 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) yet send $1.2 billion outside for rice importation. This is not sound economics,” he lamented.
Owner of Afariwa Farms and former Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) president, Nana Owusu Afari, in an address said that the day marks the beginning of wealth creation for rice farmers in the area adding that Ghana has all the resources to create wealth hence if the people are self-sufficient, there will be little or no need for state interventions.
The entrepreneur and chief disclosed that the new investors will also build the capacity of the rice farmers.
A representative of the farmers, Seth Kwame Darko, pledged that they will feed the Mill with quality rice following trainings given them by the Ministry of Agriculture and some foreign development partners.
He highlighted undeveloped lands and lack of machinery as some of the challenges they face.
Dr. Nduom will break ground for the construction of another mill at AssinBereku in the Central region on Thursday, November 3, 2016.