Aveyime rice project gets new investor

A local investor and native of Central Tongu District of the Volta Region, Chris Kpodo, has won the bid to bring back the Aveyime Rice Project, which over the years has suffered a major setback.

Farming equipment lying wasted at the Aveyime project site

The new investor is expected to start preparing the field for rice production, at the latest, by next year.

With lessons learned from two failed attempts, Mr. Kpodo is tackling challenges surrounding the farm with three strategies: community involvement, job creation and skills training, and efficient management skills.

Mr. Kpodo, during a maiden community engagement with traditional leaders, land owners, and stakeholders at the project site in the Volta Region on Friday, promised to create artisanal farmers out of the indigenes from the rice project.

He acknowledged local participation in the success of the project, which would cover a land area of about 3000 hectares.

Some of the locals at the Chrispod Rice Farm Project engagement

The investor under the Chrispod Rice Farm Project would be expanding gradually and steadily about 1000 hectares a year, which would generate about US$30 million and US$90 million when it hits full capacity.

“The previous investment was not about lack of access to funds and equipment but management. My management is solid because, as an investor, the company must establish a board of directors; there must be proper accounting.”

While the story of the rice project is about to change, the investor said the success and survival story must also start with the government’s commitment to ban the importation of foreign rice into the country.

Although projections are yet to be made about the tonnes of rice to be produced from the Aveyime field, it is believed that the project, together with rice production in the region, could produce one-third (35%) of the country’s rice needs.

Plowing equipment

The project would further attract and increase the economic activities of the district and surrounding communities.

Similarly, the out-grower strategy being adopted by the investor was to ensure community ownership of the project, which would serve as a buffer and protection for the farm.

“If you don’t engage the farmers, they will burn it for you, but if they are involved, they will also have a share in it. I’m using the outgrowing as a share and the personnel so that they will not have that motive of doing anything like burning the farm or causing any harm,” Mr. Kpodo added.

Combined harvester also lying wasted..

Currently, engineers are on site assessing the land, taking inventory of inherited equipment for maintenance and replacement, as well as ploughing the field.

Volta Regional Agric Director

William Dzamefe, Volta Regional Director of Agriculture, said irrigation canals built under the Aveyime Rice Project around the entire field were still available, but need some rehabilitation.

He added that Chrispod would not have to buy every other machine for the farming because there are some he is inheriting but that needed maintenance as well.

Mr. Dzamefe was happy that the new investor is taking the cultural background of the people into account, which previously had not been the case, saying “a lot of people think they could just come and impose their plans on the people, and they failed.”

However, the current arrangement or modalities are that, as much as possible, the investor should take on board the suggestions of those who are the land owners.

He continued that if the outgrow scheme proposed by the investor works well, then the communities around the project site are going to buy into the project.

“Aveyime has a chequered history, but we cannot go back and do anything about history; it can only lead us to the future to do the right thing. The right thing we want to do is that whoever comes in as an investor should provide the needed environment to facilitate the process that the people needed,” he underscored.

District Chief Executive Reaction

Thomas Moore Zonyrah, District Chief Executive for Central Tongu, said the engagement was a dream come true, giving the history of the project some three decades ago.

He said this is not the first time Aveyime Rice Project has seen an investor, but there were others, such as Quality Grains and Prairie Volta Limited.

Mr. Zonyrah hoped the new investor would succeed this time around, as he intends to support the youth with training, funds, and equipment.

Traditional leader’s response

The Mankralo of Bakpo Traditional Area, Togbe Kofi Torsu, hopes that the project begins as soon as possible to reduce rural-urban migration among the youth.

He said most of the youth of the area are trapped in jobs that are perilous to their lives, as well as living in inhumane conditions just to survive elsewhere because of a lack of jobs back home.

The chief also warned the people against causing distraction to the project through theft and other indecent behaviours.

“These are the reasons people are not trying to invest in our community, country, and Africa because when investors come, our aim is to steal, but if you steal, the project will collapse and you can’t work there,” he cautioned.



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