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15.11.2009 Business & Finance

Mahama cuts sod for a 10-million-dollar Sheabutter Plant

By gna
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Buipe (NR), Nov 15, GNA - Vice President John Dramani Mahama, at the weekend, broke the ground for the construction of a 10 million-dollar sheanut processing plant in Buipe with a call on Northerners to put a complete stop to chieftaincy conflicts to pave way for total development.

He said chieftaincy and other squabbles in the North continue to serve as a stigma derailing the development process and they should be stopped immediately to attract more investments to the area to arrest poverty.

Vice President Mahama said: "Let us make the North as peaceful as possible to ensure that investors are attracted to give our youth employment.

"Our areas would never develop if we continue to fight each other instead of putting our heads together to see how we can address the problems facing us as Northerners."

He, therefore, directed the Northern Regional Police Command to arrest any person or group who flouts the laws of the land and let them face the full rigours of the law, irrespective of their political affiliation.

On the sheanut processing plant, Vice President Mahama said the gesture was in fulfilment of the NDC's campaign promise in 2008 to set up a sheabutter factory for the north to address poverty.

He said the project, which is expected to be in operational in six months, already had a marketing agreement with the Produce Buying Company Limited (PBC) in Ghana and a Brazilian Producer to ensure that the products from the factory did not go to waste.

Vice President Mahama said the project was part of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) initiative and gave the assurance that SADA would be operational in the first quarter of 2010 and would be replicated in all the Savanna regions of the country.

Vice President Mahama said if the sheanut industry was used as a vehicle of income generation it would be the surest way of addressing poverty, especially among women in the North.

He appealed to the people to explore the possibility of planting sheanut trees on commercial basis for their benefit and that of the nation and stressed the need for them to also adopt measures to ensure that they picked all the sheanuts from the bush.

He said the project would set up a water treatment plant at the Volta River basin for use and would also consider supplying the people of Buipe with good drinking water and appealed to the chiefs and people of the area to give the project the necessary support to achieve its targeted objectives.

He said under SADA, other projects to be executed included the Northern Ghana Groundnuts Project (NGGP) for the processing of groundnuts oil for export to Europe.

A group from India was also conducting feasibility studies towards setting up a jute factory for the mass production of sacks for export to neighbouring countries, he said, while a sugar cane factory would be set up in Makango in the East Gonja District to process ethanol for export.

Market for the ethanol is assured in Sweden for the total produce from the 25 000 hectare sugar cane plantation.

Mr. Lius Fernando Seirra, the Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, assured his country's preparedness to assist Ghana in any economic venture towards the economic emancipation of its people to strengthen the bilateral relationship.

Mr. Stephen Sumani Nayina, Northern Regional Minister, said the North was endowed with a lot of economic trees, including the sheanut, but they could not be harnessed because of the lack of capital.

Mr. Nayina appealed to PBC and the COCOBOD to give attention to the shea industry as was given to cocoa and coffee to ensure that those working with shea products benefit from it to reduce poverty in the North.

He commended the people of the West and Central Gonja Districts for banning the burning of charcoal and appealed to them to ensure that the laws were enforced so that the sheanut trees would be safe.

Mr. Anthony Osei Boakye, Managing Director of PBC, in a speech read on his behalf, said during the year under review PBC purchased 120,895 bags of sheanut for export and gave the assurance that the Buipe Factory when completed, would purchase sheanuts directly from the people for processing.

GNA

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