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04.05.2004 Business & Finance

Cassava Farmers appeal to President Kufuor

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Bawjiase (C/R) May 4, GNA - Registered Cassava Farmers for the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on starch at Bawjiase have appealed to President John Agyekum Kufuor to intervene to get the Management of the Ayensu Starch Company at Kasoa to pay them promptly for the cassava they have supplied to the Factory.

The Farmers, led by one Kwashie Okureteh, alleged that the Company had consistently failed to pay them on time. They said as a result of the irregular payments, some of the Farmers had been compelled to process their produce into dough and gari for sale.

The farmers alleged that the Company had not been able to pay for cassava supplied it about a month ago, adding that they were made to walk long distances with the aim of collecting their monies only to be told that there was no money and they should go and come back another time.

They said their monies were locked up and they could not pay their children's school fees or buy their needs.

The Farmers said if the Company did not treat them well, the laudable PSI on starch would collapse.

They claimed the Company had for the past three weeks been carting several tonnes of manufactured starch to the Tema Harbour for export "yet they are tossing us up and down and have not paid us for the cassava we have supplied to the Factory".

An Official of the Company, who asked not to be identified, confirmed the story of the farmers, but explained that the Management was seriously sourcing for funds to pay the farmers and gave the assurance that by next week, all the Farmers would be paid.

Asked whether the Company was aware that some of the farmers were using their produce for gari and cassava dough, the Official said the Company was aware but said as soon as the Farmers were paid the situation would improve.

Asked why the Company had a small quantity of cassava in stock, the Official said the Farmers found it difficult to harvest the crop because the soil was hard due to the dry season and added that the situation would improve when the rains set in.

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