The people of Worawora in the northern part of the Volta Region have a rich history. Their ancestors came from the Ashanti Region; and are uniquely positioned and had co-habited with indigenous Ewes of the Volta Region for well over three hundred years.
Folklore has it that ancestors of Worawora migrated from Asante (present day Ashanti Region) to their present location because they found the Worawora lands very fertile for farming, particularly, rice production.
The establishment of a Rice Factory was therefore a long cherish desire of the Worawora people. But that dream lingered on for hundreds of years before it came into fruition as recent as the 1970s.
The Supreme Military Council (SMC) military regime of General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong established the first Rice Factory at Worawora under the name Oti Rice Mills Factory in 1973. The factory became defunct after the overthrow of General Kutu Acheampong 1978. Although it was refurbished by former President John Agyekum Kufuor on November 6th, 2004 it again failed to work.
Notwithstanding efforts by indigenes of the town to take over the Worawora Rice Mill, they were easily overwhelmed by its operational cost. So again the Worawora Rice again went dead.
Chiefs and elders of the town therefore decided to offer majority shares of the factory to Ghana Growth Fund Company Limited (GGFCL), a subsidiary of Groupe Nduom (GN), to manage. That decision, according to the chiefs and elders of the town, was because Groupe Nduom’s enviable track record of turning around distressed companies. GGFC refurbished the virtually dead factory
They were equally thrilled about the Groupe’s ability to run over 60 companies in Ghana, West African countries like Togo, La Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, the USA & Britain and believed that it was only Groupe Nduom that can easily be trusted to build and sustain the Rice Mill.
The new 72-tonne Worawora Rice Mill Factory was commissioned on November 1st, 2016 at a colourful durbar held at the factory grounds at Worawora. It was attended by Chiefs and elders of Worawora and adjoining communities, agric officers and close to 3000 farmers who will feed the factory with paddy rice.
The new factory which will operate under GN Foods, an addition to the Groupe Nduom companies, will create close to 5,000 direct jobs with over 20,000 also benefitting indirectly. The rice produced from the Mill will be known as Edwumawura Rice.
The President Groupe Nduom (GN,) Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, who officially commissioned the refurbished factory, narrated how significant the day was. .
“Not will Worawora become a household name in Ghana; but also improve the lives of people living in and around Worawora,” he declared.
According to Dr. Nduom, his companies ranging from media to financial services to industry were not new to the people of the Volta Region, adding that “most of my key Managers hail from the Volta Region. And that make us a part of the Volta Region.”
He lamented how Ghana spends $1.2 billion on rice importation every year:
“Imagine the jobs and development we are giving to America and Thailand;
In 4 to 5 years, all the $1.2 billion will stay in Ghana to help with the construction of roads, hospitals, schools and in the pockets of our farmers.”
Dr. Nduom assured farmers that they will be readily paid for their produce and given other incentives in Life Assurance packages.
The Managing Director of GGFCL, Mr. Kwame Ofori Asomaning, said the factory will provide employment and support for local farmers in the Volta and parts of the three regions in the north of Ghana. He, therefore, urged Ghanaians to patronise the ‘Edwumawura’ rice which he assured will hit the Ghanaian market soon.
“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) but send $1.2 billion outside for rice importation every year. This is not sound economics,” he declared.
A prominent indigene of Worawora, Nana Owusu Afari, who led the Worawora people in the negotiations with GGFCL, disclosed that the day marked the beginning of wealth creation for framers of the area.
Nana Afari, who is the owner of Afariwa Farms and also a former President of Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), further disclosed that “Ghana has all the resources to create wealth and if the people are self-sufficient, there will be little or no need for state interventions.”
…Breaks Ground for Assin Breku Rice Factory
Just two days after the commissioning of the Worawora Rice Mill factory, Dr. Nduom broke the ground for the construction of a 100-tonne rice milling factory to be sited at Assin Breku in the Central Region.
The event was well attended by traditional leaders, rice farmers and the many unemployed youth of the area.
Dr. Nduom recounted how some chiefs and people of Assin Breku had appealed to him to assist in providing a rice factory to take care of the massive rice production in the area.
He, therefore, indicated that the decision by Groupe Nduom to site a rice factory at Assin Breku was a direct response to the demands made by the chiefs and indigenes of the town.
Although Dr. Nduom decried the lack of development in the area, he assured that if the community decides to work with him, he will ensure that it does not lack any social amenities. The Assin Breku factory is also being built by GGFCL.
“Business will commence after completion in April 2017. After Easter, farmers will not pound rice again. Machines will do that. Rice farmers will be given training to be able to cultivate good and quality paddy rice,” Dr. Nduom assured, adding , “…If the business grows, combine harvesters will be brought in to replace manual harvesting by farmers. It is my hope to halt rice importation in 2020,” Dr. Nduom stressed.
The Managing Director of GGFCL, Mr. Kwame Ofori Asomaning, lauded Dr. Nduom for his foresight and vision to halt rice importation into the country.
Groupe Nduom inaugurates Edwumawura Rice in November
Groupe Nduom will officially introduce Edwumawura Rice, which is locally produced into the Ghanaian market in November 2016. Groupe President, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, will commission the Edwumawurabranded rice at two separate ceremonies at Worawora in the Volta Region and Assin Bereku in the Central Region.
The refurbished Worawora Rice Mill Factory will start producing the Edwumawura Rice right after the commissioning on November 1st, 2016; while commencement of work on the Assin Breku Rice Factory which will also produce Edwumawura Rice will be in full force right after inauguration on November 3rd, 2016.
In all some 4000 out-growers are expected to benefit from the two factories. They have since been employed by Groupe Nduom to feed the factories with paddy rice. The establishment of the local rice mill factory is part of the Groupe’s commitment towards improving lives of indigenous Ghanaians, majority of who are found in farming and fishing communities.
The Groupe believes the factories have the potential of producing a local rice brand which quality will easily surpass the foreign ones which are currently dominating the Ghanaian markets.
By conservative estimate, Ghana imports close to $1.5 billion worth of rice from foreign countries like China, Thailand, Vietnam, India etc., every year and the fact that the country consistently imports same amount of rice within the period means there is readily available market for rice production in Ghana.
That explains why the President of Groupe Nduom, Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, is happy that his Groupe is encouraging the farmers to produce top-class rice that can compete with any of the imported ones on the Ghanaian market. He believes with that quality, markets for their produce are assured.
Groupe Nduom has a vision of helping to create wealth and jobs for all categories of Ghanaians, especially those within the lower income bracket. The Groupe therefore sees in the two companies, a vastly available opportunity that farmers in the areas earmarked for the projects can take advantage to improve their living conditions.
It is through that vision that Groupe Nduom has expanded its operations throughout the country and beyond to the Sub-Region, Europe and America.
Dr. Nduom believes the new companies will help reduce poverty drastically in the production areas because the rice farmers and other farm-assistants are people hired from the indigenous communities.
The Groupe President has long held the belief that the country can only develop if leadership in government and business offer to help indigenous Ghanaians to produce the highest quality of made-in-Ghana products in order to give local producers the competitive edge over foreign goods including imported.
Source: GN Corporate Affairs