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General News of Thursday, 1 February 2007

Source: GNA

Cabinet Sub-Committee to discuss Aveyime Rice Project

Accra, Feb. 1, GNA - Cabinet has referred proposals and recommendations of two firms that evaluated the Aveyime Rice Project to its Sub-Committee for study and advice.

The two firms, Messrs Integrated Rice Company Limited and Messrs Prairie Texas Inc were among six that submitted proposals for the reactivation of the Project on October 26 2006, the closing date for the submission of proposals.

Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, was apprising Parliament on efforts to reactivate the Aveyime Rice Project, which was stopped about five years ago.

Mr Charles Hodogbey, NDC-North Tongu, had asked when the Project would be reactivated in the wake of the deteriorating condition of equipment and facilities at the Project site.

The Aveyime Rice Project covers an area of about 1,286 hectares and has not gone into full production since its establishment. Mr Debrah said four rice brokers had been milling paddy at the facility under the supervision of an Interim Management Committee that was put in place in 2001.

He said the Ministry started a programme in May 2005 to identify a strategic investor to partner the Government to bring the mill into full operation and had consequently received technical and financial proposals from Valuers for consideration so as to get the true value of assets before they would be opened up to strategic partners. He said following a valuation of the proposals by the Ministerial Tender Committee, contracts were awarded for the valuation of farmlands in December 2005, adding that the valuations were completed and a report sent to the Ministry by the end of May 2006.

In September 2006, the Ministerial Tender Committee invited firms to submit their technical and financial proposals for consideration. Mr Debrah said the proposals included the running of the rice mill with the Government of Ghana retaining 51 per cent equity share; cultivation of rice on the available land without Government involvement and the development of an out-grower scheme for local rice farmers.