The Ayensu Starch Company (ASCo) factory at Bawjiase in the Central Region last Friday successfully conducted a test run to showcase its readiness to begin full production in the first week of July.
The $7million project, which was financed initially by the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB), the National Investment Bank (NIB), the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF) and Oerko, a Dutch credit financial institution, will be replicated in 50 districts in all the 10 regions of the country.
The Minister for Trade, Industry and President Special Initiatives (PSI), Mr Alan Kyeremanten, was at the factory to witness the test run of the starch project.
Mr. Kyeremanten earlier visited an out-grower farm at Papaase to witness the harvesting of cassava which was planted in October 2001 after President J.A. Kufuor had inaugurated the Ayensu Starch Project.
The Minister was accompanied by Mr. Ishmael Ashitey, Minister for State in charge of Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiatives; Hajia Alima Mahama, Deputy Minister for Trade, Industry and Presidential Special Initiatives; the Managing Director of ASCo, Mr. Andrew E. Quayson and the co-ordinator of the Cassava Starch Project, Mr. Osei Owusu-Agyeman. They were conducted round the plant by ASCo Factory Manager, Mr. Silva Lumor.
Speaking to newsmen after the tour of the plant, the Minister said a lot of hard work has gone into the project during the past one-and-a half years and that the aim of the project is to bring rural communities in the mainstream of economic activities, adding that his Ministry will do everything possible to ensure that the project comes to fruition.
He noted that the unique features of the project include the fact that, the conceptual framework, made up of its construction, engineering and supervision, was designed by Ghanaians.
He said this gives a sense of hope and should serve as a test case that Ghanaians can do better in the area of technology for the Golden Age of Business to start from the rural communities.