BEREKUM: Cassava farmers lament over poor marketing of produce; call for establishment of processing factory
A group of cassava farmers operating at both commercial and subsistence levels within Berekum Municipality have expressed grave concern about their inability to have access to ready market for their farm produce, thereby causing it to go bad.
Date Created : 2/26/2018 8:43:41 AM : Story Author : Pius Agyemang/Ghanadistricts.com
They are peeved to the extent that they cannot fathom as to how they would be able to foot their utility bills, reimburse their bankers, let alone get funds to expand their farms to feed the nation.
At a crisis meeting held to brainstorm and find an antidote to their plight at Biadan, in the Berekum Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region, Saturday, Joseph Osei, Spokesperson for the aggrieved farmers, explained that majority of the farmers within the municipality cultivated cassava on a large scale yet remained impoverished for, "We have no one to buy our products, so they are left to get spoilt at our expense."
He added that neither did they have access to any cottage industry, nor did any buyer trek down to the community to show interest in their produce. Besides, a few local buyers and foreign ones who attempted to buy it tried to do so at a woefully cheaper price.
Mr Osei, reigning 2nd Best Farmer for the Berekum Municipality, who owns a 20-acre cassava plantation, ready for market, could not help moaning and groaning over his countless tubers of cassava going waste partly because there is no ready market for them let alone to have storage facilities to preserve them.
He pleaded on behalf of the farmers for companies who manufacture products with cassava as raw materials to turn to the area and help them get their cassava get bought.
On his part, Dwumo Joseph who also posseses a 15-acre matured cassava farm at Senase, envisaged severe famine to rock the area in the next 3 years judging from the semblance of it at the eve of the 2nd millennium when virtually the same scenario had occurred following the mass production of the crop without attracting satisfactory prices.
A 10-acre cassava farmer, Mr Kwadwo Nketia, maintained that the unfortunate situation is deterring most of the farmers from engaging in the cultivation of cassava, which is the mainstay of the economy; hence the possibility of famine "because the farmers are fed up with planting in futility,".
He suggested that the Government should partner with private enterprises to enable cassava farmers to get ready market for their produce, whilst motivating them in the form of grants and loans with moderate interest rate to help increase production.
Most of the farmers, who hail from Senase, Nsapor, Kutire, Namasua, Kato, Jinijini, Biadan, amongst others, urged Government to set up cassava processing company, with storage facilities in the area to enhance the activities of the farmers.
They stressed that the factory would not only seek to generate employment for the teeming populace but it would also boost foreign exchange through the exportation of both raw materials and products acrued from cassava production.
The cassava farmers within the Berekum municipality further made passionate appeal to the government and corporate bodies to rope in cassava processing industry in the widely publicised 'One-District-One Factory' agenda and, expedite action on it to prevent imminent crime wave owing to unemployment and its attendant problematic effects.