Mangoes expected to be harvested from more than 4,000 acres of land in parts of the Northern Region stand the risk of going bad due to the lack of local and foreign processing companies to buy the produce.
Strenuous efforts being made by the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) to attract prospective processors to buy and process the mango into juice for local consumption and for export is also not yielding any results.
Speaking at a forum in Accra, the Board Chairman of EDAIF, Professor Alex Doudo, expressed regrets that the British produce buying company, Minor, Weirs and Willis which had earlier reached a marketing partnership deal with EDAIF to purchase Ghanaian mangoes under its mango development project is backing out of the deal.
“They wanted us to sign a direct agreement with them but we declined on grounds that EDAIF is not permitted by law to do so and referred them to our mother ministry but they insist they want to sign with us”, he said.
Professor Doudo said the situation has compelled EDAIF to scout for prospective local processors on its roadshow throughout the country but that has not yielded any results, making the situation dire.
Dr Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku, acting Chief executive Officer of EDAIF, told the Graphic Business in an interview after the forum that efforts are being made by EDAIF to ensure that monies were advanced to interested persons to buy processing plants to be able to harvest the mangoes.
“We are entering into an agreement with the Export Import Bank (EXIM Bank) of Ghana to take then risk off the prospective processors so they can go for the EDAIF loan”, he said.
One major issue with businesses people as far as sourcing loans EDAIF funds from the banks is the issue of collateral which the banks demand and which most of the borrowers are unable to provide.
Borrowers have also argued that the banks have often described them as too risky to deal with, and that Dr Issahaku explained “is why we are trying to get EXIM on board to take the risk as per its mandate”.
EDAIF provided funds for the cultivation of more than 5,000 acres of mango in the Brong Ahafo, Volta, Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions a couple years ago.
That was intended to give meaning to the government's plans to champion mango cultivation in the Savannah areas and other parts of the country as a mechanism to increase farmer incomes and combat rural poverty.
Already, EDAIF is reported to have invested more than GH¢11.7 million in the project and its goal is to ensure that a total of 20,000 acres of mango plantations are cultivated by 2013.
Source: Daily Graphic
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