“Thanks to the courses that I received at Oklahoma State University, I launched the first local processed and packed rice under the brand ‘ADJI RIZ.’ I use the parboiling method to process the paddy rice before packaging it. I have to admit that it's just the first step of a long journey, but it already started and it's the more important thing,” he told us.
Zamtato traveled to the U.S. as a recipient of the 2019 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. While on program, he studied at Oklahoma State University.
Upon his return to Chad, Zamtato was able to apply his knowledge of food processing to revolutionize the local industry. By implementing a new process for processing the rice before it reaches consumers, he was able remove any lingering sediment, improve the texture, and significantly lower the glycemic index, creating a much more desirable product.
Though he has faced challenges in getting consumers to accept a new processed and packaged food, Zamtato says his rice production has been highly successful in local markets. His next step? In addition to being able to offer various package volumes, he hopes to be able to expand his markets internationally. In doing so, he hopes to continue to grow job opportunities locally while also improving the community’s self-sufficiency for food.
“We have a lot of work to do in terms of food processing and packaging in Chad, and I hope that my work will inspire more youth in my community. I wish also that, despite the outbreak of COVID-19, other young Chadians will benefit from this prestigious program in the future,” he said.
You can learn more about the Mandela Washington Fellowship on exchanges.state.gov.