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30.05.2006 Health

Agric Minister questioned on burnt maize


Accra, May 30, GNA - Mr Ernest Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, on Tuesday told Parliament that the Ejura Farms in the Ashanti Region had been on the divestiture list for some time now. However, he said in order that the facility did not sit idle, while waiting for an interested investor, the support of the Agricultural Development Bank was sought to continue with normal operations on the Farms.

The Minister was responding to a question on the Ministry's position on the Farm and why stored maize running into thousands of tonnes were burnt on the Farm.

On the issue of maize burning, Mr Debrah said in 2003, a natural disaster occurred leading to the flooding of the farm and this affected Government's maize stocks stored in a silo located on the farm. He said after the draining of the water, the maize had changed colour with extreme levels of carcinogenic aflatoxins and were, therefore, subsequently declared unwholesome.

He said the contaminated maize had to be disposed of through burning to ensure that they did not find their way to the markets.

Responding to another question on when the Pomadze Poultry Industries in the Central Region would be rehabilitated, the Mr Debrah said the industry had long been on the divestiture list.

He, however, said the breeding farm at Winneba had been divested to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission International while the hatchery and feed mills at the same place had been offered to Ashpack Expectations Limited.

Mr Ricmond Quarm, NPP-Gomoa East, also asked the Minister when the Nsuaem Tomato Factory in his constituency would be rehabilitated and made operational.

Mr Debrah said the Factory was abandoned after the 1966 coup and added that the area where the project was located fell within the Millennium Challenge Account catchment area where the production and processing of vegetables and some fruits would be promoted.

"It is my hope that the tomato factory idea will be re-visited under the Millennium Change Account."