A total of 230 hectares of Sunflower farms for the production of Bio-diesel has matured and ready for harvesting.
The farms, established at Tumu, Walewale, Mpaha and Damongo in the northern part of the country, and Agona Asafo near Agona Swedru in the Central Region are raw materials to feed the Bio-diesel factory that will begin production in January 2009.
The Chief Executive Officer, Tropical Agricultural Marketing and Consultancy Service (TRAGRIMACS) Sunflower Ghana, Mr Issah Sulemana, disclosed this to newsmen after conducting them round to inspect the 45 hectare Sunflower farm at Agona Asafo.
He was accompanied by Mr George Ortsin, Project Co-ordinator of Global Environmental Facility/Small Grant Project (GEF/SGP) under the United Nations Development Project (UNDP) that is funding the project.
Mr Sulemana said equipment for the establishment of the first Sunflower bio-diesel project in the country, which cost 25,000 US dollar, has already arrived in the country.
According to him the factory will be sited at Tema.
Mr Sulemana said due to high crude oil prices on the world market, Ghana needs to find an alternative source of cheap fuel and therefore encouraged the financial institutions to assist farmers to go into Sunflower production on a large scale.
He said the purpose for the establishment of the project is to produce bio-diesel from a local crop to mitigate climate change.
He appealed to farmers to go into Sunflower cultivations because it has ready market locally, adding that the crop is drought resistant and economical viable as compared with other crops.
The by-product (residual cake) from the sunflower is good for poultry feed while the oil from it is the healthiest edible oil with all the 20 Amino Acid, needed by the body, Mr Sulemana emphasized.