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08.07.2004 Business & Finance

Ayensu bagged $300,000

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Bawjiase (C/R), July 8, GNA - The Ayensu Starch Company Limited at Bawjiase made 300,000 dollars in the first year of its operation, Mr Andrew Quayson, Managing Director, said on Wednesday. He said the amount was realized from 15,000 tonnes of starch exported to Europe.

Mr Quayson was interacting with members of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GIS), who were on a day's trip to the plant and farms. He said the plant being the first of 10 others under the President's Special Initiative was working at gaining access into the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) market.

"With countries like Nigeria banning the importation of all forms of cassava products into their country, we have not been able to penetrate the Sub-Regional markets as we would have wished to," he said. Mr Quayson said the quantity of cassava being fed to the plant was currently good, except for the fact that farmers needed to improve their efficiency to improve yield.

"Initially we had problems with pricing because the farmers thought there was some money lying some where from the Government that was to be used to pay them. They were also not willing to conform to the use of standard methods of weighing produce for sale, they rather preferred the selling of whole farms irrespective of yield per acreage, which we were not also willing to accept," he said.

Mr Quayson said a host of African industrialists were trooping to Ghana to learn the technology because starch exports from Africa currently, were only from Ghana, South Africa and Egypt.

The Company would from this year offer five per cent shares to the farmers that supply cassava to it regularly.

"The banks from which we took loans for the setting up of this factory own some shares as their equity and are willing to release these shares gradually as we repay the loans. Such shares would be passed on to the farmers to give them a sense of ownership," he said. Unilever and Guinness Ghana Limited have expressed interest in using the products of the Company.

Mr Samuel Dodd, Chairman of the Ayensu Farmers Association, expressed satisfaction with purchases of their produce so far. He said now that the farmers had a guaranteed market for their produce all year round, members of the Association had agreed to expand their farms.

Mr Charles Sagoe, President of GIS, expressed gratitude to the Management of the Company and the Farmers for giving them an insight into their operations.

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