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07.12.2005 Regional News

Company to solve marketing problems of ginger farmers

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Krabonso (B/A), Dec. 7, GNA - Marketing problems facing ginger farmers in Kranbonso, a farming community near Kintampo, would soon be a thing of the past, following the decision of Barbex Plantation Limited, an essential oil manufacturer, to buy their produce for processing into spices.

A memorandum of understanding to that effect is to be signed between the Farmers Association, Barbex and the German Development Cooperation (GTZ) by the end of the year. Hitherto, farmers in the area depended on the benevolence of traders from Burkina Faso, Mali and middlemen, who usually bought the produce on credit and failed to pay back the money and in the process impoverished the farmers.

With the conclusion of the arrangement farmers would sell their produce to Barbex at a guaranteed price of 108,800 cedis per 64 kilograms throughout the season. Currently, farmers sell their produce at 120,000 cedis per 75-kilogram bag in the lean season and at lower prices in the harvest period. "We are ready to support and buy all the produce from the community," Mr Charles Tabi, Finance and Administration Manager, told journalists and GTZ officials on a fact-finding mission to the community.

GTZ is supporting the farmers through its Rural Trade and Industry Promotion Project, which aimed at supporting the creation of an enabling environment for entrepreneurial activities at the district level through participatory planning and implementation of local economic development initiatives and improving access of rural entrepreneurs to business development services. Mr Tabi said Barbex had already bought four tonnes of fresh ginger from the farmers for processing, adding that the Company would buy more within 10 days. He said the farmers, who had been trained to cultivate premium organic ginger, were also assisted with extension services to ensure that they produced within specification.

Mr Tabi said the Company would be able to buy more ginger and enhance farmers' income as well as contribute to the socio-economic development of the area on completion of the expansion of its existing ginger drying facility. Mr Tabi said a major problem affecting the farmers was aflatoxins and the infestation of the produce as a result of poor handling and storage. He said the Company had developed an instant testing kit to enable it to conduct tests on the produce in the community. Mr Stephen Baffoe Amponsah, Chairman of the Ginger Farmers Association, said through the assistance of GTZ, the group was able to register with the District Cooperative as an association. He lauded the arrangement reached with Barbex, saying it would eliminate the problem of money.

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