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Mills reasserts support for cotton industry   
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President John Evans Atta Mills has assured the management and staff of the Ghana Cotton Company Limited (GCCL) of government's readiness to support the cotton industry to redeem its past glories.

"Cotton features prominently in the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) and everything is on course for the full implementation of the programme to increase agricultural productivity and create jobs for the youth", the president said.

President Atta Mills was addressing the staff, management and farmers of the GCCL at the companies premises in Tamale on Saturday as part of his official tour to the Northern Region.

He said SADA was not a political gimmick but an important policy that would improve the agricultural sector as a business and create more jobs for the people.

The President also urged the youth to get into agriculture to take advantage of the juicy policies to improve their living standards.

Mr. George Kinsley Osieku, Acting Managing Director of GCCL called on government to initiate a cotton development fund as a medium and long term plan to help revamp the company, which is currently going through difficulties.

He said the company relied on bank loans for on-lending to the farmers at a high interest rate of 26-30 per cent resulting in high operational cost.

"We are therefore crumbling under bank interest charges and look forward to access concessionary agricultural loans of not more than 12 per cent interest rate for operation", he said.

The company, which was diversified in 1985 with a production capacity of 60,000 metric tons, currently produces only 6,000 metric tons.

The challenges had reduced drastically the number of out-grower farmers from 52, 000 to 13,000 with little inputs for them.

The company has three operational sites in Tamale in the Northern Region, Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region and Tumu in the Upper West Region.

Source: GNA

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