The President, Mr J.A. Kufuor, on Tuesday inaugurated the Ayensu Starch Company Limited (ASCO) at Awutu-Bawjiase, in the Central Region, and said from a humble beginning in 2001, it has created jobs for 10,000 farmers.
Since it became operational, the company has exported 300 tonnes of cassava starch to Europe and has firm orders for 1,000 tonnes from the European market. Speaking at a farmers? durbar at Awutu-Bawjiase, as part of the inaugural ceremony, President Kufuor explained that the President?s Special Initiatives (PSIs) were undertaken by the government to diversify the economy and free it from decades of over-reliance on cocoa, gold and timber. He said over the past 100 years, gold, cocoa and timber were exported raw and were always subjected to the vagaries of the international primary commodity markets.
Explaining the rationale behind the PSIs, President Kufuor said the initiatives were also designed to bring development to the doorsteps of the rural communities and make them part of mainstream economic activity. He stated that the projects being implemented under the PSI were not government-owned but, rather, belonged to the private stakeholders involved in the programmes.
President Kufuor commended the farmers, development partners and international institutions that contributed in diverse ways towards the successful execution of the project.
The Managing Director of Ayensu Starch Company, Mr Andrew Quayson, said the company had some 14,000 acres of high yielding cassava under cultivation by farmers registered under the Ayensu Farmers Association. Mr Quayson said building the capacity of the farmers association and developing an effective channel of communication between the company and the farmers were critical to the success of the business.