Business News of 2014-03-28

Ayensu to purchase cassava from farmers

The Ayensu Starch Company Limited (ASCO) has indicated its readiness to purchase cassava from farmers in its catchment area. Consequently, it has asked farmers in the area to send their cassava to the company for purchase.

This was the outcome of a meeting by the management of the company, the Ayensu Cassava Association (ACFA), the Policy Adviser of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr Kofi Smith, and representatives of Guinness Ghana Limited (GGL).

The decision by the company to purchase the cassava from farmers in its catchment area followed complaints raised by the farmers association over the refusal of the company to purchase their produce.

Association’s concern

According to the association, while the company is able to purchase cassava from places such as Kwame Danso in the Brong Ahafo Region, Aflao in the Volta Region and Obuasi in the Ashanti Region, it does not buy cassava from farmers in its catchment area, which comprises seven districts in the Central and Eastern regions.

Management’s position

However, at the meeting, the acting Managing Director of ASCO, Mr James Biitir, said the company was not happy to purchase cassava from outside its area of operation.

“Let us prove that we are capable of supplying the cassava,” he said to members of the association. He noted that the company would purchase the cassava at GH¢150 per ton.

Ministry of Trade

Mr Smith told the farmers to exercise restraint to enable the company to revamp its operations before insisting on their shares in it, since the company was currently in debt.

The Corporate Relations Manager of GGL, Mrs Praba Greenstreet, gave the assurance that the company would pay for cassava produce that would be provided by the farmers.

Guinness’ intervention

The government is close to entering into partnership with Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) for the take-over and revamping of the Ayensu Starch Factory.

The deal, which has been nurtured for the past year, is anticipated to be sealed in June this year on a public-private partnership basis. As part of the transaction, the board of directors of the starch factory have been asked to work with the GGBL to close the deal, subject to all procurement processes of Ghana.