The hope of some farmers in the Yendi Municipality of the Northern region to benefit from government’s one district, one factory program is in limbo.
This is because the company which submitted its proposal to the government to set up a soya and vegetable factory in the area have been denied approval.
The company, Alafei Foods Limited which is co-owned by a Tamale based Adam Awal and Claude Convisser of America applied to set up the factory in Zugu, a community in the Yendi Municipality.
It was the first company to submit its proposal to the government to set up a soya and vegetable factory under the 1D1F to meet the protein and vitamin needs of the Ghana School Feeding Program in the Northern region.
The company submitted its first proposal in march 2018 to the former Gender Minister, Otiko Afisah Djaba and an updated proposal submitted in November the same year to the current Gender minister, Cynthia Morrison after the exit of Otiko Djaba.
The corporate purpose of the company Starr News gathered is to support farmers and communities to grow jatropha trees and food crops in partnership with POP diesel Africa, an oil company and manage trust estates for farmers prudently.
Farmers collaborating in the joint venture will be paid twice, once at the time of harvest and second time later in the year from a portion of the profits derived from value-added processing of their crops grown in partnership with and sold to the company.
POP diesel, an oil company in the United States which will give funding to Alafei Foods Limited has also given all of its ownership share of its Africa branch, POP diesel Africa to the Alafei Food farmers irrevocable Trust. This means that the company if set up in Zugu, will employ over 30,000 farmers and supply to the GSFP at a lower cost.
Checks by Starr News indicate that the company’s proposal to set up the factory has been unanimously approved by the Yendi Municipal Assembly, Northern regional GSFP coordinator and all the relevant stakeholders in the municipality except the Northern regional minister, Salifu Saeed.
However, upon following all the necessary procedures to get the factory set up, the government is on the verge of shattering the dreams of Northern farmers.
The Government Starr News is learning has diverted from Alafei Foods Limited, which is to set up its production factory in the North to a Sunyani based company called YEDENT to supply the GSFP in the North.
Starr News also gathered that, in a meeting between the operations manager at the GSFP head office, madam Doris and Alafei Foods on May 7, 2019, she revealed that her outfit has a private relationship with Sunyani based YEDENT company which according to her is confidential, reason why Alafei Foods is denied a letter of intent.
Several efforts also made by the company to schedule a meeting with the Gender minister proved futile, an indication of government’s deliberate attempt to deny people of Yendi municipality their own share of its flagship program 1D 1F.
In May this year, farmers in the Yendi municipality petitioned the President through the Northern regional minister but all have not yielded any results. The petition, which was signed by over 5,000 farmers including the northern regional GSFP coordinator, sought that, the president ensures Alafei Foods is granted a letter of intent to enable it source funds to establish the factory.
Titled “Northern jobs for Northern farmers”, the petition also appealed to the Gender minister to consider the benefits the factory will bring to farmers in the north.
Portions of the petition as obtained by Starr News reads: “In particular, we petition Madam Tetteh and the honourable minister to allow Alafei Foods, instead of a food company based elsewhere in Ghana to provide this protein-rich vegetable sauce to the northern region’s school feeding, to boost manufacturing employment in our region in support of the government’s one district one factory program and thus create 5,000 new jobs within 2 years here.”
The updated proposal submitted to Madam Cynthia Morrison sited by Starr News detailed the nutritional benefits of Alafei Foods that will be served to 150,000 children daily at a cost of GHs 0.45 per child.
In that proposal, the company will also provide delivery trucks to purchase raw crops and produce from local farmers and transport them for sale in the regional market.
The new policy of the GSFP envisions rapid national socio-economic development achieved through a coordinated, integrated and accountable national school feeding program delivering improved nutrition for disadvantaged school children, reliable market for local farmers, effective local catering service and enhanced local income.
However, children between the age of 6-36 months in northern Ghana are malnourished and at greater risk of failing to meet the infant feeding standards recommended by WHO given that, less than 50% of them are on a minimum acceptable diet according to a research by Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING).
Meanwhile, Starr News found out that Alafei Foods proposed to the ministry of gender, children and social protection and the school feeding program to deliver to children attending the program’s schools in northern Ghana, a 100 gram per day portion of a tasty and vegetable-rich sauce that includes 30 grams of textured soya protein (soy meat) containing 15 grams of protein or one half to all of the recommended daily intake of protein for pre-teen children, something that could have changed the region’s history of malnutrition and offer a reliable market for farmers in the north as contained in GSFP new policy.
If the government refused to grant Alafei Foods limited a letter of intent, Starr News sources can confirm, the company will lose its funds sourced from an American oil company, POP diesel and the people of Yendi municipality might either not get their share of the 1D1F within the first four years of the NPP administration or will not get a factory at all.