The Ghana Export-Import Bank (GEXIM) has accepted a provision of GH¢ 13.5 million for a cassava project.
The project which is termed “Cassava Enterprise Project (CEP)”, will upgrade and commercialize the use of cassava by cultivation, processing and marketing of the product value.
Mr. Lawrence Agyinsam, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GEXIM, explained this at the Stakeholder Consultative Forum in Accra. He revealed that the money is part of approved funds which is distributed to GEXIM by the Minister of Finance.
Mr. Agyinsam said, the project which commenced last year in October was to make use of the prospects and opportunities in the cassava industry, and solving the problems the industry may experience.
According to the CEO, the amount approved was estimated to cultivate a total of 5,000 acres of cassava plantation. He stressed that over 1,000 out-growers and nucleus farmers were assisted with 3,750 acres of cassava farms as part of the planned objective of improving the quality of raw material support for the first phase of the project.
“As part of this project, each three nucleus farmers are being supported to construct a processing factory to convert cassava from their farms into high quality cassava flour for export,” he stated.
Mr. Agyinsam said that the GEXIM board also agreed on a sum of GH¢ 15,750,000 in 2018, under a special project dubbed, “Seed multiplication.”
This, he noted, was to expand and make stronger access to inputs to ensure sufficient and maintain a certain level of production and processing along the value chain.
In support of this, Mr. Agyinsam disclosed that some selected farmers were assisted to engage in the production, on-farm propagation and distribution of improved planting tools to farmers, saying “a total acreage established was 12,000.”
Explaining the challenges similar with cassava cultivation and processing in the country, Head of Business Development and Project of GEXIM, Bright Evans Darko, stated that restricted access to inputs, predominantly improved varieties was a major problem.
He maintained that insufficient funding, poor storage infrastructure, high costs of transport due to bad road system and short life of cassava roots, among others, as factors that limit the cultivation and processing of cassava.
According to Mr. Darko more than 700 direct jobs and 500 indirect jobs would be created under the project, this will also boost the export of starch, ethanol and cassava chips to earn the country foreign exchange and in addition fulfill the industrialisation agenda of the government’s One District One Factory agenda.