Work on a GH¢6.6-million rice-processing factory at Sefwi Akontombra in the Western North Region is scheduled for completion by end of October, this year.
The factory is one of five Common User Processing Facilities (CUF) currently under construction nationwide under the government’s One District-One Factory (1D1F) programme to process raw materials into products or convert agro-industrial materials into other products.
The programme is being led by the Rural Enterprises Programme (REP) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Inspecting the factory yesterday, Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen, said the factory was in line with the government’s plan to decentralise industrialisation and support communities to add value to their agricultural produce.
He noted that the factory would source raw materials from the many rice farmers in the area and become a business point for them.
The minister said the government led the establishment of the factory to enable the farmers to own and process their rice and create a sufficient market for their products.
“Studies show that the actors at the processing link in the rice value chain are often not in a position to mobilise the level of investment required to establish their own processing facilities but may constitute sufficient market for the services of these facilities.
“The establishment of the Common User Facility is to provide these value-chain actors their own processing facility,” he explained.
When fully operational, Mr Kyerematen said, the factory would create more than 600 jobs, directly and indirectly, including100 labourers to work on a nucleus farm.
He said the project had, so far, supplied improved rice seeds to 480 farmers who, on the average, would cultivate one hectare of rice farm.
Additionally, he said, the factory would set up 200 acres of nucleus rice farm to produce solely for the company to process.
In a related development, the Minister inspected work on a Business Resource Centre (BRC) at Bibiani in the Bibiano-Ahwianso-Bekwai District in the region.
The project, which would be completed in about two months, is one of 30 currently nearing completion.
So far, 37 out of the 67 BRCs to be established by the government are operational following their commissioning.
FROM CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS, Sefwi Akontombra