A Cassava Processing Center which seeks to refine raw cassava into finished products, has been çommissioned at Alloapkoke in the Ellembelle District.
The facility, which is expected to produce gari and other products, is under the auspices of Growing Economic Opportunities for Sustainable Development (GEOP), a Cassava Processing Company with funding from Christian Aid International(CAI), the European Union (EU), and the Zochonis Charitable Trust(ZCT).
The company commenced production into various finished products such as gari, starch, cassava dough,gari-wheat mix,gari-soya mix,gari-groundnut-Nido-sugar mix,gari-ginger mix during the commencement of the third quarter of this year.
The Chief of Alloapkoke, Nana Dehele Kpanyinli XI, who cut the tape to commission the facility, appealed to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to commit more resources into the factory since the Ellembelle District had not had its share of the One District, One Factory (1D1F) project.
The ceremony was on the theme,” Agro Processing: The Path to Sustainable Job Creation for Rural Farming Communities”.
The Chief expressed his readiness to release land for factories to come to the area and urged the Member of Parliament, Mr.Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, and the government to initiate more projects to mitigate the unemployment situation in Alloapkoke and its environs.
He asked residents especially the youth to venture into Agriculture and grow more cassava to feed the factory and appealed to the management of the facility to find ways to sustain the project.
Nana Kpanyinli XI said traditional rulers and political leaders must team up to create jobs for the communities and opened his doors to companies ready to pitch more projects in the area.
The Country Director for Christian Aid Ghana, Mr Kobina Yeboah Okyere paid a glowing tribute to organizations such as Gratis Foundation, Oxon, Christian Aid International, EU, and the District Assembly for the partnership to establish the factory.
He said as part of the project, the center had equipped some youth with skills training and about 600 farmers have been contracted to produce cassava to feed the facility.
He tasked the community, management, and Board members to ensure the success of the project.
The Board Chairman of GEOP Cassava Processing Center, Mr Ebo Dublin said Ghana’s economy hinges on Agriculture and that cassava was widely produced in Nzema as a source of income and food to households.
The Regional Director of Agriculture, Alhaji Zublim Salifu in a speech read on his behalf said cassava was widely grown by 70% of farmers which underpins its socio-economic importance.
He said the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) continues to intensify its research into various crop varieties such as cassava to add more value to them.
Alhaji Salifu mentioned beer as other nutritional values of cassava and said the factory should do away with post-harvest losses.
The MP for Ellembelle, Mr Buah in a speech read for him, said he would support the project to produce more gari for export to boost the local economy.
The MP said he would continue to support NGOs that knock at his door to push the development agenda of Ellembelle.
Mr Buah used the occasion to thank traditional rulers in Nzema for releasing land for projects such as Ghana Gas, ENI, Aya Community center among others.
The DCE for Ellembelle, Mr Kwasi Bonzoh said the project forms part of an EU funded project with Ellembelle, Ayawaso-East, and Ablekuma-South in Accra sub-metro as the only three Assemblies selected to benefit for the project.
The DCE noted that the factory would not only provide jobs but a ready market for farmers and deal with post-harvest losses to boost the local economy.
He said the project falls in line with the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to mitigate hunger and reduce poverty.
The District Director of Agriculture, Mr Bernard Donkor noted that cassava had no competitive bidding in the past and hoped that the factory would boost cassava production in the area.
The General Manager of GEOP company, Mr. Daniel Cobbinah said the company would sustain international best practices in the production of Industrial cassava and allied products through strict adherence to industrial regulation, farmers motivation, and the Agricultural Industrial revolution.