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21.08.2005 Business & Finance

Govt grants farmers loans to feed Starch Factory


Agona Swedru, Aug 21, GNA - The Ministry for Private Sector Development and the President's Special Initiative has granted an amount of 750 million cedis as loans to farmers to produce cassava to feed the Ayensu Starch Factory at Awutu Bawjiase in the Central Region. It has also set aside a substantial amount to be given to more farmers to enter cassava production for the factory.

Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister for Private Sector Development and the President's Special Initiative, announced this at a durbar of the Chiefs and people of Agona Swedru to climax their annual Akwambo Festival. He urged the people especially the youth to take advantage of the scheme to reduce poverty, which was endemic in the area. Mr Bartels stated that the Ministry had put in place measures to assist private businessmen and women in the Agona District to expand their ventures.

He said that the government had voted one billion cedis to support infrastructure development, in the areas of education, health and sanitation in the District to improve the leaving standard of the people.

The government would use part of 25 million dollars it had secured to construct streets in the Swedru Township, Mr Bartels stated and said the government would upgrade the Agona District into Municipal Assembly this year, which would increase the Common Fund allocation to the area. The Minister gave the assurance that he would liase with the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to improve Television reception in the District.

Mr Bartels said that the Ministry of Interior would rehabilitate the residential accommodation of Police personnel in Agona Swedru to enable them to protect life and property.

Mr Samuel Kwaku Obodai, MP for Agona West expressed concern about the low level of education in the area and appealed to parents to invest in their children's education since it was "an everlasting property," which nobody could take away from them.

He deplored the level of child labour in the District especially at Swedru and warned parents particularly mothers to desist from the practice, which could retard the progress of their children. Mr Ben Mensah, District Chief Executive (DCE), called on the Chiefs and people to rally behind the government to ensure more development programmes in the District.

He said the government was aware of the economic difficulties facing Ghanaians and gave the assurance that everything possible would be done by the government to reduce poverty. Mr Obodai pledged 100 bags of cement from his share of the Common Fund to assist the construction of a 150-million-cedi learning centre initiated by the Chiefs and people at Swedru. 21 Aug 05