Canadian NGO, operating as CUSO International Nigeria, has launched a rice processing factory in Ogada community of Obubra local government area of Cross River State with a view to boosting rice production in the State.
Speaking at the launch of the factory which was set up by Quancy Multipurpose cooperative society, the project manager, Mr. James Odey , charged farmers not to limit themselves to cultivation of rice crop alone but instead go a step further and venture in processing, branding and marketing so as to add value to their businesses in the Agriculture value chain.
Mr Odey, who disclosed that the project was funded by Global Affairs Canada, said ability to rebrand, package and market the product would add value to the business, explaining that the factory was cited in the community to stop farmers from taking their unprocessed rice to neighbouring States for processing.
“What we expect the cooperative society to do from here is to go beyond processing rice, but go into packaging and branding of the rice and reach out to the markets. I expect members of the society to continue to pull themselves together, keep straight records of all transactions, diversify their business from what they are currently going into and do other form of businesses like branding, packaging and marketing.
“Immediately after the flag off, they should kick-start full operation to provide services to the community within and there can scale up from there,” he said.
On how the cooperative society got the grant to fund the factory, the project manager explained: “For them to benefit from this support that we have given to them, we launched the cord cycle of the EF grant and they were successful as a cooperative. That grant was open to both individuals and cooperatives. The cooperative group did very well.
“One of the things that we did was to assess their business plan and saw how viable that business plan , which was submitted to us, was. From what we saw, their business plan was quite viable and for that reason, they were selected to benefit from this grant.”
In her welcome remarks, the president of Quancy multipurpose cooperative society, Quenet Obase, commended the Canadian NGO for equipping members of the cooperative society not only with the funds which was used to site the factory but the technical knowledge used in management of the rice production and processing.
Also speaking, Ogada Community Leader, High Chief Sunday Abam Areba
lauded the Government of Canada for the grant. He believed that with such intervention, poverty was gradually being tackled in his community.