The National Democratic Congress (NDC), wants the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government to credit the party for the establishment of a pineapple factory in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region.
According to a former Deputy Trades Minister, Murtala Mohammed, the processes for the establishment of the factory started in 2013, while the NDC was in office.
” In 2013, it was done between cedecom. This was something that was established. You can liken it to SADA which is meant to provide jobs and alleviate poverty in the Central Region,” the former Deputy Minister said.
The Deputy minister’s revelations, come on the announcement that President Nana Addo, will on Friday, cut sod for the construction of the factory as part of the government’s flagship One-District-One-factory programme.
The event is to create the platform for the NPP’s Annual National Delegates Conference in the Central Regional capital Cape Coast, which comes off from Friday August 25 to Sunday August 27.
The Herald has meanwhile, seen a Ghana News Agency (GNA) story which confirms Murtala Mohammed’s assertion.
The story reported from Essarkyir in the Central Region on May 18, 2013 announced that then “…Central Regional Minister, Mr. Samuel Sarpong has launched a GH¢1.2 million organic Sugar-Loaf Pineapple growing project at Essarkyir in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region”.
The GNA story continued that “the project which is jointly sponsored by Japan and the Central Regional Development Commission (CEDECOM) is aimed at expanding and improving sugar-loaf pineapple cultivation in order to reduce poverty in the district”, adding that “the two-year project would assist 277 small holder- farmers in the district to cultivate one- acre pineapple farm each and also create access to export market”.
But in spite of this fact, the Akufo-Addo government says the sod cutting will formally symbolize the launch of the policy which the NPP believes will actualise Ghana’s industrialization drive.
The lands and the funds for the establishment of the factory, have already been secured, according to the government.
This is expected to be the first project of the NPP’s flagship One-District-One-factory programme.
But Murtala Mohammed, claims the idea and success of the factory is due to the work the NDC did, while in office.
According to him, the NPP, should disclose the history of the factory to Ghanaians and credit the NDC for it.
The late President John Evans Atta Mills was a native of the Ekumfi and President Akufo-Addo, vowed to develop the Ekumfi District in honour of the late President when he visited the place.
“Before we competed we were brothers. We were in university together. We were even in the same hall together as well. We were friends till the day he died. I have to do something to show that the friendship we had was not for nothing,” the President said at a durbar at Ekumfi Essakyir in the Ekumfi District during his tour of the Central Region a few weeks ago.
The ‘One District One Factory’ programme is designed to establish at least one viable factory in all 216 districts in Ghana as part of an industrialization drive aimed at providing jobs and transforming the economic fortunes of the country.
Below is the 2013 GNA story
Ekumfi District benefits from GH¢1.2 million pineapple growing project
Essarkyir (C/R) May 18, GNA- The Central Regional Minister, Mr. Samuel Sarpong has launched a GH¢1.2 million organic Sugar-Loaf Pineapple growing project at Essarkyir in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region.
The project which is jointly sponsored by Japan and the Central Regional Development Commission (CEDECOM) is aimed at expanding and improving sugar-loaf pineapple cultivation in order to reduce poverty in the district.
The two-year project would assist 277 small holder- farmers in the district to cultivate one- acre pineapple farm each and also create access to export market.
The launch was on the theme: Stimulating High Economic Growth through Pineapple Production.
Mr Sarpong, who addressed a durbar of chiefs and people of the area, commended the Japan the constant support to Ghana and urged the beneficiaries to make maximum use of the funds provided to increase their products as well as improve upon their living standards.
He said the money is a revolving fund and so the beneficiaries should make sure it yields the needed profit for others to also profit from it.
Mr. Sarpong also urged them to take advantage of the project to produce quality pineapples that would meet the international market standards.
Mr. Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuye Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry said government has an agricultural base policy that aims at ensuring the production of the necessary raw materials to feed the nations industries.
He said pineapple cultivation would be given the necessary boost to increase production so as to meet local and international demands.
Mr. Spencer Taylor Acting Executive Director of CEDECOM noted that pineapple growing has been identified as the pre-occupation and the life blood of the people of Ekumfi although the farmers are confronted with challenges which position them below the poverty line.
He said pineapple cultivation in the area is saddled with challenges including pest infestation and unavailability of market for the product, which leads to huge post- harvest losses and low pricing of the commodity.
Mr. Taylor said the commission contributed GH¢200.00 towards the projects and that 10 communities would be beneficiaries of the project.
Mr. Abeiku Crentsil Member of Parliament for Ekumfi Constituency commended CEDECOM for making provisions for the beneficiaries to retain 30 per cent of the revenue.
This he noted would help with the development of the area.
Mr. Crentsil appealed to the government and civil society organisations to provide the area with a processing factory so as to help reduce post-harvest losses.
Safohen Nana Imprem VI, Acting President of Ekumfi Traditional Council, who presided over the event appealed for the reconstruction of the Otuam Ekumfi road as well as some feeder roads in the District.