To help reduce post-harvest losses in Chili pepper and Ginger within the Asutifi North and South Districts, the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) and Deutsch Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) has come up with the Asutifi Processing and Services Centre (APSC) at the cost of 694 thousand 897 dollars. Mr. Joep Coenen, the General Manager of the Newmontâ€™s Ghana Ahafo Mine, speaking at the commissioning of the APSC at Kenyasi Number One in the Asutifi North District of the Brong-Ahafo Region, said the post-harvest losses currently stand between 15 and 26 per cent in the Asutifi area. Consequently, the project aimed at adding value to crops to boost marketability and improve the earnings of farmers. Mr. Coenen noted that the centre is expected to produce at least 65 tons of Chili pepper and 80 tons of ginger annually, generating a turnover of 500 thousand Ghana Cedis per annum by the third year of operations. According to him, over 80 Farmer Based Organizations (FBO) made up of at least one thousand farmers, will benefit from the processing of farm inputs from the centre, adding, out of the number, 70 per cent are women and the youth. The concept of APSC is in line with the theme â€œAgro-Processing: A Key to Sustainable Livelihoods of Smallholder Farmers in Asutifiâ€ Â The District Chief Executive for Asutifi North, Eric Addae, asked the management of the factory and financial institutions to make facilities available to farmers to expand and cultivate more raw materials for the factory to achieve its objectives. Mr. Addae appeal to all and sundry to increase their patronage of locally made products, to give local farmers a ready market and transform the countryâ€™s economy. He commended the efforts of the NGGL and GIZ for the initiative to invest in the Asutifi districts which has the potential of creating jobs for the youth. The Brong-Ahafo Regional Director of Agriculture, Dr. Cyril Quist, said the Centre will help make production efficient and provide an avenue for adopting and applying good agronomic practices and allow good manufacturing practices to enhance quality assurance and food safety. Dr. Quist expected that the various FBOâ€™s would help improve on their production activities and have a sustainable stream of income through the production and sale of chili pepper and ginger.
Source: Biiya Mukusah Ali/http://newspaper.developghana.com/