Revive Aveyime rice project - Chief, leaders plead with government
Some leaders in the Aveyime-Battor area, including the Paramount Chief of the Battor Traditional Area, Togbega Patamia Dzekley VII, have appealed to the government to revive the Aveyime rice project, now known as Prairie Volta Limited (PVL).
Speaking with the Daily Graphic when it visited the project site recently to ascertain the facts on the collapsed project, the leaders said the collapse of the once vibrant company had adversely affected their fortunes and life in the community.
Togbega Dzekley stressed that the community needed the government to intervene by investing in the PVL to revive the company.
“We need government’s intervention. We may be wrong in asking because there are other shareholders. I did not consult them but it is out of concern that I ask. Once it is on our land, we all expect it to grow and generate employment and other benefits for the community,” he said.
To him, government did not have to be the sole owner before it assisted the ailing company because if the PVL could generate a quarter of the country’s rice imports, the savings on the import bill could be beneficial to the country.
The Assembly Member for the Aveyime Central Electoral Area, Mr Samuel Nyamedie, for his part, appealed to the government to help revive the PVL in order to bring life to the community.
He said as a result of the collapsed project, children could no longer go to school, as their parents who were workers of the company could not pay up their fees, thereby leaving the children to engage in anti-social activities.
He also said festivals in the community no longer got support from the company because it had collapsed.
The Unit Committee Secretary for Aveyime Central, Mr Lawrence Kumah, pleaded with the government to go to the aid of the company, saying that it gave a lot of indirect employment to women who sold to the workers while the company was thriving.
The Unit Committee Chairman for Aveyime Central, Mr Freeman Tsoxe, said as a result of the collapse of the company, his wife divorced him because he could not take care of the family.
He also had a loan of GH¢2,000 from the Battor Rural Bank hanging around his neck because he could not pay up the loan.
The Unit Committee Treasurer, Mr Prince Gbesemete, said “the youth are my main concern because they are just loitering, as the factory is not functioning and we do not know what they will do”.
“If it is revived the youth can find something to do and there will also be food in the house,” he stated.
In response to the plea by the leaders for government assistance to revive the PVL, the Deputy Minister for Food and Agriculture (MoFA) in charge of Crops, Dr Yakubu Ahmed Alhassan, gave an assurance that investors were being sought to help resuscitate the company, which is a public/private partnership in which the government holds 30 per cent shares.
Touching on the plight of the workers who had not been paid for several months due to the collapse of the PVL, Dr Alhassan, said because the company was a private entity, it was its responsibility to pay the workers.
“The government was not paying them when they were being paid and so why is it that when they are not being paid it is the government that is not paying them? At best it is a distributed responsibility and more of the responsibility should be on the people who are on the ground managing the situation,” he stated.