Until recently, Edwumawura was only a nickname to business mogul and 2016 Presidential Candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom.
With 60 companies now under his holding company – the Groupe Nduom (GN) – and thousands of mouths depending on his vision and direction for a living, Edwumawura, which is the Akan translation for ‘jobs provider,’ fits well into the lifestyle and objectives of Dr Nduom.
But after enjoying the accolade and popularising it for decades, Dr Nduom and his business empire are now seeking to raise the notches higher – capitalise on the mileage that the name has gotten to launch into the rice processing business.
Instead of just being the alias of the founder, Edwumawura will now be the brand name of the group’s rice, which will be grown and processed locally.
Edwumawura Rice, as it will be called, will be milled at two of the company’s rice milling factories at Worawora in the Volta Region and Assin Breku in the Central Region.
While the one in the Volta Region, a 72-tonne million plant, is an old factor that the group is seeking to refurbish and revive, the 100-tonne plant in Assin Breku is a new plant GN will construct from the scratch.
At peak performance, the group’s founder and president said the factories’ produce — Edwumawura Rice — will be an answer to the country’s gapping rice production and consumption hole.
Every year, the country expends a total of US$1.2 billion on rice imports to supplement local production.
“Imagine the jobs and development we are giving to America and Thailand,” Dr Nduom said at the commissioning of the Worawora Rice Mill in the Kpando District.
“In four to five years, all the US$1.2 billion will stay in Ghana to help with the construction of roads, hospitals, schools and in the pockets of our farmers,” he added.
It will also serve as a good source of employment to rice farmers in the two communities by providing ready market for this produce.
This will inspire increased rice cultivation, which will translate into increased job creation and income generation for the farmers and their employees.
Prior to the refurbishment, the Worawora Rice Mill Factory was one of the things that exemplified failed industrisalition in the country.
The rice factory was first established in 1973 as Oti Rice Mills Factory but later rebranded to Worawora Rice Mill Factory to help revive it.
Although it was later refurbished by former President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2004, it failed to achieve its intended purpose, mainly as a result of fluctuating supplies of rice, inadequate finance and poor management.
Notwithstanding efforts by indigenes of the town to take over the Worawora Rice Mill, rising cost of operation made it unsustainable for them.
As a result, the chiefs and people of the area agreed to offload majority of the company’s shares to the Growth Fund Company Limited (GGFCL), a subsidiary of GN.
This made it possible for the group to inject fresh capital and management expertise into reviving the company.
It also created the avenue for the new majority shareholder to leverage its group advantage reviving the factory, providing ready market for rice farmers and helping create jobs for the teeming youth.
At the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of the rice mill at Assin Breku, Dr. Nduom said the factory was a response to several appeals by people in the area for him to intervene.
He said business on the factor will commence in April, next year.
“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,” he assured.
And should the business expand successfully, Dr Nduom said “combine harvesters will be brought in to replace manual harvesting by farmers. It is my hope to halt rice importation in 2020.”
Dr. Nduom told the people that the Worawora Rice Mill Factory was currently working, and assured them that same will happen in the area.
He further thanked the chiefs for assisting GN with the land to be used for the factory and his staff members for their earnest work over the years.
The Managing Director of GGFC, Mr Kwame Ofori Asomaning, said the factory will provide employment and support for local farmers in the Volta Region and their counterparts in parts of the Northern Region.
He, therefore, urged Ghanaians to patronise the ‘Edwumawura Rice, which he said 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,” he asked.
The President of the Assin North Rice Farmers Association, Mr Mammoud Kwaku Oppong, said his outfit was optimistic that many more farmers will benefit from Dr. Nduom’s initiative.
The Sanaahene of Assin Breko, Nana Asare Baffour, who spoke on behalf of all the chiefs said the chiefs and people of the area were impressed with the initiative and will work to ensure that it succeeds.
At Worawora, a citizen and past president of the Association of Ghana, Nana Owusu Afari, said the community was happy to see the factory come back to live after years of less activity.
Nana Afari of Afariwa Farms said the factory’s history was tight to the heritage of the Worawora people, who spend a larger chuck of their lives farming