Some farmers in the North East Region have expressed their gratitude to the President Akufo-Addo administration for the establishment of a watermelon factory in the region.
“We thank president Akufo-Addo and Dr Bawumia for bringing the one district one factory to Walewale because most of us farm watermelon and other produce to take care of our families and children.”
According to them, the establishment of the watermelon factory brings some relief to them with regard to the market.
Some of the farmers who spoke to DGN Online indicated that the establishment of the factory will encourage them to increase watermelon farming since they will be assured of buyers when they harvest.
The farmers said they normally ran into loses after the farming season due to lack of buyers, noting that sometimes the produce goes waste when they do not get buyers.
“Sometimes the watermelon will get spoilt even at the farm because we don’t get people to buy and that discouraged some of my friends to change into farming other produce.”
They appealed to the government to establish more factories in the region to cater to farmers who grow other crops.
A visit by DGN Online to the factory site revealed that the structure made up of steel metals and other materials have been completed.
The supervisor of the steel project, Yakubu Abdul Jawal told DGN Online that the structure is completed awaiting the ground finishing by contractors.
In an interview, the West Mamprusi Municipal Agric Director, Matthew Aduah, said watermelon farming has become the major cash crop in the municipality.
“When the season begins it is the first crop that most farmers will go in for because they produce it, almost every community in the district farm watermelon
and sell and use the money to buy farm inputs to farm other crops .”
He stated that most farmers stopped farming watermelon in the region because of the lack of market which is the biggest challenge but was optimistic that the situation will change with the establishment of the factory.
“The processes farmers go through in cultivating watermelon, they do not get value for money which affect them financially and discouraging most farmers.”
Mr Aduah revealed that interaction with the company establishing the watermelon factory indicates that the machines have arrived awaiting completion of the structure for installation.
“We are collaborating with the company to set up demonstrating plots in ten communities to introduce new varieties of the crop to farmers to ensure that farmers go through good practices in watermelon farming.”
The Agric Director said after the establishment of the factory, it will not only be a market for west Mamprusi Municipality but also for East Mamprusi and other regions.
The construction of the watermelon factory is estimated to cost Gh¢35m which is being funded by the Exim Bank, is in fulfilment of President Akufo-Addo’s efforts to reduce the phenomenon of rural-urban migration, and revitalize the nation’s industrial base.
Last year, Vice Presiden, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, cut sod for works to begin on the construction of a Watermelon Processing Factory at Walewale in the North East Region, as part of the government’s industrialization agenda of ‘One District One Factory.’
The factory is expected to reduce the yearly ritual of huge post-harvest losses in the watermelon growing enclave of Walewale and its surrounding towns and villages, and help improve the lives of the citizens.
The factory is estimated to employ for between 300 and 400 people and provide a ready market season after season for between 2000 to 3000 peasant farmers.
The North East Regional Secretary of the ruling New Patriotic Party(NPP) Lawyer Sulley Sambian assured the people of the North East Region that government is committed to fulfilling its promises made to them citing the massive infrastructure projects in the region.
He called on the people of the North East to vote massively for the NPP come December 7 to continue the good work.
FROM Eric Kombat, Walewale
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