Rice Plant To Create Jobs
MUSIKA Development Initiative managing director Reuben Banda says the commissioning of the US$ 100,000- rice processing facility in Serenje is a practical demonstration of a comprehensive rural industrialisation and diversification initiative that has potential to create jobs and longterm value chains.
The equipment, funded by Musika and is being operated by Community Markets for Conservation ( COMACO) Limited, has the capacity to mill, process and polish 56,000 kilograms ( 56 tonnes) of rice per hour, thus transforming livelihoods of farmers in the area through the rice value chain.
The development will also go a long way in accelerating the agriculture diversification programme.
Speaking at the commissioning of the plant last Friday, Mr Banda said the development that is being implemented on cost- sharing basis with COMACO will scale up COMACO’s processing and farmer outreach capabilities.
“ The partnership between Musika and COMACO is aimed at catalysing a more stable, transparent and profitable market for rice that works for both the company and the farming community,” he said.
He observed that with correct technical information, greater access to quality inputs and a ready market, smallholder farmers will be motivated to invest more in agricultural production and realize the full benefits of farming.
At the same occasion, Central Province head of agriculture Adreen Nansungwe said the development will create a platform for farmers to ensure a sustainable realisation of profits from their crops.
“ Government is doing its part by establishing a conducive environment through good policies, working on the road infrastructure, addressing the shortage of extension service officers, among other things, but the private sector should also come on board since Government is not in full- time business,” she said.
COMACO manager for extension and farmer support services Richard Mumba said provision of markets is one way of incentivising farmers to increase production.
“ This is one solution to the income insecurity faced by our farmers,” he said.