Some farmers in the East Gonja municipality of the Savanna region have called on government to refurbish and operate the collapsed cassava processing factory in Salaga.
For the farmers, the factory which has been left to rot away, is affecting their livelihood, hence want government to revamp it.
The factory, which was established under the Root and Tuber Improvement Programme of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture ceased operations in 2008, sources have told 3news.com
Its goal was to enhance income and food security in order to improve livelihoods of the rural poor
Funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government, the project sought to build a competitive market-based Root and Tuber Commodity Chain (RTCC) supported by relevant, effective and sustainable services that are available to the rural poor
Damango and Salaga were identified as the hub of cassava production in the Guinea Savanna zone. This necessitated the establishment of the factory in Salaga with the aim of processing cassava, but the factory has now been left to rot.
The factory, which was abandoned 11 years ago, has now become the breeding grounds for reptiles. Processing machines procured for the factory are now in a terrible state.
Skeletal remains of dead rats and other reptiles are scattered on the floors of the factory premises. Bats have also invaded the entire building and the roofing and ceiling of the facility have also fallen off.
Checks by 3news.com revealed most of the equipment have been stolen.
A former employee of the factory, Attah Yaw, who operated the machines, blamed the collapse on poor management.
He said both suppliers of the raw materials and workers were not paid.
“I worked there for 5 years without pay. Thee farmers who supplied the cassava were not paid either so I left with my colleagues,” he recounted.
But the East Gonja Municipal Chief Executive, Mohammed Tamimu has rejected Attah’s claim.
He said the collapse of the factory was investors did not show interest in cassava production and there was no ready market.
A senior research scientist at Nyankpala, Dr Joseph Adjebeng Danquah, told 3news.com the factory can do better if government gives it more attention.
He urged government to consider investing in cassava production to be able to feed the companies across the country.
“Cassava contributes a lot to the country’s GDP…[and so it] should be a cause of worry if our cassava processing factories are being shut down” he stated.
He added: “Government should relook into the industry and get some funding to revamp the industry”.
By Christopher Amoako|3news.com|Ghana