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04.03.2009 Regional News

Akuapem North orange farmers call for processing plant

By GNA

Orange farmers in the Akuapem North District have appealed to the government to encourage investors to establish fruit processing plants in the region to motive them to produce more.

They held that the lack of ready market has made orange farming unproductive due to the unattractive prices being offered to them.

Nana Kweku Peprah, Nkosuohene of Tinkong and spokesman for the farmers, said the establishment of processing plants in the Akuapem area would not only stabilise prices but also create employment for the youth.

He said the current price of GH¢150 for a load of 10,000 pieces of oranges was uneconomical and was discouraging farmers from putting in their best.

He said the area had large acreages of orange farms, which could feed a processing plant to increase the earnings of farmers and create employment in the area.

Reacting to the request of the farmers, Eastern Regional Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Mr Godwin Ocloo, said investment in orange processing plants was purely a private venture.

He said the Ministry would take the opportunity of any forum to market that potential to investors.

Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, said he would liaise with the Intermediate Technology Transfer Unit (ITTU) to find out if they could produce simple machines for the processing of oranges into juice so that the farmers could be supported to acquire them.

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo said his office would also seek support from some embassies, especially the Indian High Commission to see if the region could benefit from some technological transfer programme in the processing of oranges and other fruits

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