Government will be underpaying farmers, if it decides to peg the price of a metric tonne of sugar cane purchased from the out grower farmers at 50 cedis, Dr Nana Ato Arthur, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Constituency has said.
Interacting with host Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapaon Kasapa 102.5 FM Tuesday, Dr. Nana Ato Arthur fears the trend will undermine sugar cane production in the country, if government does not reconsider a review of its price floors for a tonne of sugar purchased from local farmers.
“Government should be able to offer sugar cane farmers far more than the 50 cedis they are quoting for a tonne of sugar cane-the pricing system is poor. The price of a stick of sugar cane on the streets sells more than 5 cedis. And if a farmer has struggled to produce a KIA truck full of sugar cane to be given 50 cedis per tonne at the factory which includes transportation cost – is that not a cheat?,” Nana Ato Arthur questioned.
He said the current capacity of the plant which is about 1,250 tonnes per day equivalent to a 100 KIA truck of sugar cane needed for the plant to operate on daily basis will be a mirage should government undermine the farmers.
But the Central Regional Minister, Mr. Kweku Rickets Hagan insists what they are paying farmers at the factory yard is more than what one will expect on the market, which according to him are sold between 30-40 cedis per tonnage.
“It will be unfair analysis to juxtapose the bulk pricing at the yard with a unit price of sugar cane sold on the market. Retail prices are always set different from producer price. Besides the KIA truck can carry a maximum of 10 tonnes of sugar cane and we have personnel from the factory who will go to the farms and teach them how to pack the produce into the trucks,” the Central Regional Minister stated.
The rejuvenated Komenda Sugar Factory is promising over 7000 direct and indirect jobs, President John Dramani Mahama announced Monday.
Mr. Mahama said the new factory will not “only diverse our economy” but will enhance export business while moving Ghana into self-dependence.
Commissioning the refurbished factory on Monday, President John Mahama disclosed that the current capacity of the plant is 1,250 tonnes per day which is “25% bigger than the original plant.”
The factory was established decades ago by the late President Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the 1980s and was later closed down as a result of inadequate funding and bad policies.
Two years ago government secured a 35 million dollar Indian Exim Bank facility to rejuvenate the factory and bring it back it life.
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