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04.05.2005 Business & Finance

PSI on Oil Palm Farmers Union inaugurated

By GNA

Abaam (E/R), May 4, GNA - Government will provide every assistance to farmers engaged in the President's Special Initiative (PSI) on Oil Palm to ensure its success.

The assistance, technical and financial would be extended through Farmer-Based Organisations (FBOs), which the farmers themselves are establishing in communities, which are taking advantage of the PSI on Oil palm to go into large-scale cultivation of the crop.

This assurance was given by Dr J. B. Wonkyi-Appiah, Technical Advisor of the PSI on Oil Palm at the inauguration of the Oil Palm Gravers Union of Sarpcoe Enterprise.

Membership of the Union is drawn from 17 communities in the Kwaebibirem District who are getting their supply of oil palm seedlings from the nursery of Sarpcoe Enterprise, one of the three nurseries in the district set up under the PSI to produce seedlings for farmers. Oil Palm Research Institute and Obuoma set up the two other nurseries in the Kwaebibirem District.

Dr Wonkyi-Appiah urged farmers, traditional rulers and others with large tracks of land to join in setting up plantations, which could be turned into joint-venture enterprises.

He said the lands could serve as equities or shares in the establishment of the companies.

Dr Wonkyi-Appiah said the companies would form boards and appoint competent staff to run them and set up mills with government assistance to process the palm fruit into oil.

He said out of the oil, a whole lot of products could then be produced for local consumption and for the export market.

The Kwaebibirem District Chief Executive, Mr Yaw Yiadom-Boakye gave the assurance that the district assembly would improve road infrastructure and provide other basic needs of communities engaged in the PSI on Oil Palm.

This was because of the need to ensure the success of the initiative in the district and therefore, called on farmers to be actively involved in the project.

Mr Yiadom-Boakye said the country stood to gain from the initiative, since much more revenue could be derived from oil palm than cocoa, if the initiative was taken seriously. He cited Malaysia as an example of a country, which had made a success of its economic development, based mainly on production and export of palm oil and its many derivatives.

Barima Nyaning II, Abaamhene noted with regret that Ghana was a nation of distributors of foreign-made goods, instead of producers and asked how Ghana could progress if majority of the people were only sellers and not producers.

He invited the union to set up its mill at Abaam and promised to offer land for the purpose.

Mr I. Kwaku Sarpong, Managing Director of Sarpcoe Enterprise, which runs one of the nurseries, in an interview with newsmen said, 100,000 seedlings were nursed in 2003 and planted in 2004.

Out of the 100,000 nursed, 87,000 did well and were handed over to the Out-grower Support Unit of the PSI, which in turn made it available to farmers.

He said currently 150,000 seedlings were being nursed and would be ready for cultivation in June and July this year.

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