Agona-Nkwanta (W/R), April 7, GNA – The Government has so far invested more than GH¢ 62 million in the rubber industry under the Rubber Outgrower Plantation Project.
Mr. Richard Twumasi-Ankrah, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, said at the 10th Annual General Meeting of the Rubber Outgrowers and Agents Association (ROAA) at Agona-Nkwanta on Saturday.
The meeting was under the theme: ’10 years of ROAA: Achievements, Challenges and the way forward’.
Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah said so far, government had directly supported ROAA with over GH¢ 1.7 million through the provision of infrastructure and capacity building services.
He said an amount of GH¢ 40 million had been provided through the Agriculture Development Bank (ADB) and the National Investment Bank (NIB) for plantation development by rubber outgrower farmers.
Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah said some GH¢ 20 million had also been disbursed to the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) for technical assistance to farmers.
He commended over 300 farmers, who had fully paid loans, granted them under phases one and two of the Rubber Outgrowers Plantation Project.
Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah said the country had a large area favourable for rubber cultivation, political will, population eager to plant rubber and competitiveness in yields and incomes.
‘This, therefore, places Ghana in a very good position to increase our percentage of Africa contribution to the world rubber industry’, he said.
In his annual report, Mr. Kwame Awuah-Asante, National Chairman of ROAA, said the Association realized a net income of GH¢ 244,689 last year as against a net income of GH¢ 259,270 in 2011.
He said the Gross Income for 2012 was GH¢ 531,905 and in 2011, GH¢ 501,781.
Mr. Awuah-Asante said total expenses of GH¢ 287,215 was recorded in 2012 as against expenses of GH¢ 242,511 in 2011.
He said Fidelity bonus earned by members in production amounted to GH¢1,075,138 as against GH¢ 1,076,591 earned in 2010.
Mr. Awuah-Asante said rubber production grew from 6,242 metric tons in 2011 to 7,602 metric tons in 2012, an increase of 21.1%.
He said the Association had a membership of 5,549 including 1,330 females and out of this number, 2,385 are in production while the remaining have farms at different stages of development.
Mr. Awuah-Asante announced that the Association in collaboration with GREL had successfully negotiated a loan of 18,000,000 Euros from Alliance Francaise de Developpement (AFD) of France for the phase five of the Rubber Outgrowers Plantation Project.
He said a total of 12,000 hectares of rubber would be planted by 4,000 farmers from 2013 to 2015 in all operational areas under phase five.
Mr. Awuah-Asante said the Association did not benefit from the government’s subsidized fertilizer programme last year.
He said the project had to procure fertilizer at the prevailing market price to supply to farmers.
Mr. Joseph Dofoyena, Ahanta West District Chief Executive, spoke of conflicts between communities and GREL in some of the operational areas of the company.
He said the District Assembly and the District Security Committee were taking steps to bring peace in those areas so that rubber production would take place unimpeded.
Mr. Dofoyena said the Assembly had set up a multi-sectoral committee to address the alarming depletion of the environment and illegal mining in the area.
He said these activities had impacted negatively on the quantity and quality of water in the area.
Mr. Dofoyena advised members of ROAA to join the Association’s credit union to enable them obtain additional funds for their plantations and to improve their living standards.