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Business News of Friday, 27 September 2019

Source: Michael Oberteye

300 acre Nkukuninkaka Cassava Project launched at Anum

The Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank), a leading export finance and development bank, Mr. Kwame Adu Darkwa has launched the 300 acre High Quality Cassava Project at the Nkukuninkaka Farms Agro and Allied Industries at Anum in the Asuogyaman District of the Eastern Region.

The project falls under the 5000 acre Exim Bank Ghana’s Cassava Enterprise Project (CEP).
The Exim bank financed Nkukuninkaka Farm project, is established solely for cassava production for supply to Caltech Ventures, a cassava production and processing company at Hodzo near Ho in the Volta region.

The CEP forms part of Exim Bank’s drive towards taking advantage of potentials in the cassava industry, while tackling the challenges therein and improving and commercialising cassava through cultivation, processing, and marketing of its derivatives.

Under the Phase I of the project, Exim Bank is disbursing about GH? 15million to 10 medium enterprises to achieve its aims of developing and strengthening access to inputs; ensuring adequate and sustainable production and processing along the value chain; improving the capacity of smallholder farmers and fostering entrepreneurial mindset; improving access to finance along the value chain; and improving access to technology for processing.

The funds, which are in the form of a soft loan, are estimated to help the selected cassava farmers cultivate about 500 acres of cassava each – which translates to 5,000 acres in total.
The Nkukuninkaka project became possible following the donation of a 300 acres of land by the Adontenhene of the Anum traditional area, Okogyeaman Nana Kwasi Anyane.

Deputy CEO of Eximbank Ghana, Mr Kwame Adu Darkwa who launched the project touted the potentials of the project to offer mass employment opportunities to the youth, particularly those in and around Anum. Mr. Adu Darkwah who said the project which is being implemented in other parts of the country will offer about 10,000 jobs said each acre of the project will employ two people.

“The farm is three hundred acres, each acre will employ two people and so in this constituency alone, we are bringing 600 jobs,” said Mr. Darkwah, adding that the project had the capacity to create up to 20,000 jobs. “The first phase of the CEP is 5000 acres in total. This means in a few months in Ghana, already, we are creating 10,000 jobs and we are looking at creating at least 20,000.”

With the chunk of the financial support given pharmaceutical industry going into the importation of starch, Mr. Darkwah who regretted the development said CEP will help in the processing of cassava into the starch for use by the pharmaceutical industry and also for export.

The deputy CEO who cited Thailand as a successful cassava production country with $2.6b earnings through the commodity is confident that Ghana could make more than $5b in cassava productions if it took production of the commodity seriously.

He expressed his appreciation to the Adontenhene of the Anum traditional area for donating 300 acres of land for the Nkukuninkaka cassava project and the people of Anum for their support for the project.
The deputy CEO of Exim Bank who dismissed doubts of the project becoming a white elephant like the sun flower oil project assured the gathering of the sustainability of the cassava project as those running the project are competent and committed to its cause.

CEO of High Quality Cassava Project at the Nkukuninkaka Farms Agro and Allied Industries, Mr. Jerry Afful said the company is in the process of recruiting out grower farmers who would be required to cultivate one acre (500 hectares) of cassava to meet its target of 500 acres of the project.

The outgrower farmers, he indicated would be supported with planting materials, farm inputs, farm machinery services, technical support as well as some capital for the cultivation.

After production, the company will buy the produce directly from the farmers where the farmers will refund the loans granted them through the acquired profit from the sales of the cassava and thereafter remain self-sufficient in their production.

The CEO appreciated the effort of the Adontenhene of the Anum traditional area, Nana Kwasi Anyane for providing 300 acres of land for the project and Exim Bank for its financial support for Nkukuninkaka Farms.

Mr. Afful whose long term goal is to cultivate 5000 acres of cassava is also targeting some 6000 outgrowers in the scheme.

He encouraged the youth who are interested in the project to come forward as they will be offered the necessary start up support including logistics to start their individual farm projects.
The Phase two of the project will see the industrialization of the commodity into various products including ethanol, glucose syrup, chips ethanol, food-grade starch and high-quality cassava flour.

The CEP aside its vast employment opportunities erprise project to help unemployed youth, advanced countries, commercialize cassava, phase one, cultivation and outgrowers, industrializing cassava to buy large sizes of cassava next year bring factory to Anum, bright Darko
Okogyeaman Nana Kwasi Anyani who sat as chairman of the event said the prospects of the project convinced him to donate the lands for the project.
Nana Kwasi Anyani who expressed his commitment and continued support for the farms said he was ready to release more lands, if need be, for the project.

The chief whose desire remains creating employment opportunities for the people of Anum recalled the high unemployment rate in the community when he was enstooled.

While pledging his commitment to work with all stakeholders including government and all political parties who seek his assistance, the revered chief prayed for the establishment of factories to provide more opportunities for Anum.

Director of Agric at Asuogyaman, Mr. David Dokli with who also represented the District Chief Executive for Asuogyaman District, Mr. Samuel Kwame Agyekum regretted the low opportunities provided for post-production activities.

Mr. Dokli whose office is working closely with the Nkukuninkaka Farms under the planting for food and jobs program regretted the poor state of roads to farming communities in the district, adding that such roads must be improved for the success of the CEP.

He described the cassava enterprise project in the district as timely especially when surrounding communities were actively engaging in it.

Ghana produces about 16 million tonnes of cassava, of which an estimated 11 million tonnes is available for human consumption. However, only four million tonnes are consumed, leaving approximately seven million tonnes surplus. CEP seeks to address this through the creation of facilities or avenues for processing, so as to avoid losses to farmers.

The aims of the CEP include: developing and strengthening access to inputs; ensuring adequate and sustainable production and processing along the value chain; improving the capacity of smallholder farmers and fostering entrepreneurial mindset; improving access to finance along the value chain; and improving access to technology for processing.

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