Gov’t injects GH¢62m into the rubber industry

The Government has so far invested about GH¢62million into 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”, and Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah said, so far, government has directly supported ROAA with over GH¢1.7million through the provision of infrastructure and capacity-building services.

He said an amount of GH¢40million has 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¢20million had also been disbursed to the Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) for technical assistance to farmers.

He commended over 300 farmers who have fully repaid loans granted them under phases one and two of the Rubber Outgrowers Plantation Project.

Mr. Twumasi-Ankrah said the country has a large area favourable for rubber cultivation, political will, a 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’s contribution to the world rubber industry,” he said.

In his annual report Mr. Kwame Awuah-Asante, National Chairman of ROAA, said the Association realised 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 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 tonnes in 2011 to 7,602 metric tonnes in 2012, an increase of 21.1%.

He said the Association has a membership of 5,549 including 1,330 females — and 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 has successfully negotiated a loan of 18,000,000 euro from Alliance Francaise de Developpement (AFD) of France for phase five of the Rubber Outgrowers Plantation Project.

He said a total of 12,000 hectares of rubber will 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 Government’s subsidised fertiliser programme last year.

He said the project had to procure fertiliser 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 company’s operational areas.

He said the District Assembly and District Security Committee are taking steps to bring peace in those areas so that rubber production will take place unimpeded.

Mr. Dofoyena said the Assembly has set up a multi-sectoral committee to address the alarming depletion of the environment and illegal mining in the area.

He said these activities have 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.