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15.12.2005 Regional News

District Assemblies urged to promote Sunflower production

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Koforidua, Dec 15, GNA - A businessman has appealed to district assemblies in the Eastern Region to promote the production of sunflower. Mr Issa Sulemana, the Managing Director of the Tropical Agricultural Marketing and Consultancy Services, said the country imports over 2 million dollars worth of sunflower oil for fish processing companies and over one million dollars worth of its cake for the poultry industry.

Addressing the Eastern Regional Co-ordinating Council at Koforidua on Wednesday, he said if any assembly should cultivate 100 hectares of the flower, it would be creating 800 direct jobs and between 15 to 20 per cent of indirect jobs. He said the company was to begin buying dried sunflower seeds from farmers at the farm gate as from December 21 for processing. The company is installing five processing machines for the flower in some parts of the country. Two each are to be sited in the Northern and Brong Ahafo regions and one in the Ashanti Region.

Mr Sulemana said each of the plants is capable of processing 20 tonnes of the seed oil per day from 20,000 kilogrammes of the seeds. The processing machine at Kwatire, near Sunyani, is to start processing in January next year. He recalled that the previous efforts to introduce the cultivation of the sunflower in the country failed due to the lack of adequate research to find the appropriate variety of seeds suitable for the local climate and vegetation. Mr Sulemana said two out of eight varieties of the flower had been selected for cultivation in the country and this would be propagated in all parts of the country.