Attitude of some farm out-growers affecting outputs of commercial agro production, processing

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The outputs of commercial agro production and processing companies are being affected by the attitude of some farm out-growers.

Mr Chris Amponsah Sackey of the Projects Department of the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) said major agro companies in the country faced growing disappointment from out-growers they contract to meet input demand.

He raised the concern at a stakeholder breakfast meeting in Ho organised by GEPA, saying the situation needed to be addressed to save numerous agro processing companies springing up across the country, under the Government’s industrialisation initiative.

Citing the experience of Caltech, Ghana’s largest processor of cassava, he said the company was facing growing dishonesty from its out-growers.

He said Caltech depended on the supply agreement with hundreds of farmers in Volta Region where its factory was located, and the Company’s operations had been significantly hit as the out-grower outputs failed to meet targets.

Mr Amponsah said some farmers under contract refused to sell their produce to the Company despite receiving free seeds and other input including land preparation.

“They are spending time and money chasing out-growers for their produce. This is affecting majority of these companies, and out-growers need to understand the concept and help grow industrialisation,” he said.

Mr Amponsah told the GNA that it was an attitudinal challenge, therefore education should be considered for the farming community.

He called for law-backed and strict agreements for such endeavours, saying, the Government and sector stakeholders should consider disciplinary measures to help sustain out-grower programmes.

“Education is key. We need to disabuse mindsets. Out-growers should understand that they are helping themselves and the nation as well,” adding that the Volta Region’s prominence as a cassava production and processing hub was being affected by the situation.

The Volta had great potential and could significantly contribute towards the realisation of the targeted 25.3 billion dollar export revenue for the country, as starch also could fetch over two billion dollars for the region, but the cassava industry was suffering, Mr Amponsah said.

The breakfast meeting brought together stakeholders in the Volta Region to deliberate on growing the export economy.

Participants included the leadership of the Association of Ghana Industries in the Region, the Ghana EXIM Bank, and the Director of the Volta Regional Coordinating Council, Mr Augustus Awiti.

Mr Alexander Dadzawa, the Programmes Director of GEPA, said the Volta Region was fast becoming an export hub and commended the various entrepreneurs that help up the sector.

He said the Region among others embraced the GEPA’s coconut revitalisation project, and should sustained the patronage to help expand the prospects of the tree crop

Ms Doris Bansah, the Regional Director of GEPA, said the meeting aimed at strengthening collaboration among the various stakeholders, noting a “lack of full linkage” among stakeholders on export.

She said it was the first meeting of its kind by the Authority in the Region and should help address the “low economic and slow pace of progress of the export sector in Volta.

By Samuel Akumatey, GNA

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