Cassava Farmers Want Government To Fulfill Promise

Ayensu Cassava Farmers Association (ACFA) says the government is reneging on its promise to cede shares in the Ayensu Cassava Starch Factory formed under the Presidential Special Initiative to the association. They said the document on the establishment of the factory under the PSI made it clear that with time ACFA members would increase their shares and takeover the Awutu Bawjiase based factory in the Central Region. But that has not happened due to circumstances beyond our control, he said. Per the Corporate Village Enterprise (COVE) concept of the PSI, each out-grower in the course of time was expected to have an equity stake equivalent to ‘300 shares of no par value’ in Ayensu Starch Factory as part of the operational strategy of the initiative. The association said to make the takeover a reality, its Chairman, Samuel Dodd even bought shares to signify the commencement of the shareholding process. However, they claimed recent happenings regarding the operations of the factory vis-a-vis the farmers indicated that the government did not have any intention to make the farmers major stakeholders of the factory. According to them, recently, when a new board was inaugurated the association, which has always had a representative, was left out heightening the fears of members that they were being sidelined. They insisted that they could not be sidelined because the factory had mostly relied on them for sustenance. The association said for instance that in 2013, when the government through the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and the government of China signed a Pytosanitary Protocol Agreement paving the way for dried cassava to be exported to China, the government relied heavily on them. They said in the protocol, the association also signed an agreement with a Chinese company for a similar purpose under the auspices of the Plant Protection and Roots Services Department (PPRSD) of MoFA and witnessed by General Agricultural Workers Union (GAWU).