Farmers Want State Of Cotton Clarified

Over 15,000 cotton farmers in the Sissala East and West Districts of the Upper West Region have threatened to take to the streets if the government does not act on the uncertain state of cotton production in the region. This is because they stand to lose their jobs as Olam Ghana Ltd, the organisation holding them together, is folding up its operations in the region. Addressing a news conference in Wa, the Chairman of the Sissala Farmers Association, Alhaji Sulemani Kassim, said Olam had given them notice that it was no longer going to operate and as such it had sold out its assets and logistics. With the re-zoning of the three northern regions for cotton production in 2010, the Upper West Region came under Olam Ghana Ltd while Amajaro and Wienco were allocated the Northern and Upper East regions respectively. Alhaji Kassim said when the farmers were about to start the preparation of the land for planting this month, they realised that Olam Ghana was no more in operation and had sold out its assets. The chairman said they were told after their enquiries that Olam would be taken over by Wienco and be in partnership with Masara Narziki, which is a maize production company and that Wienco was going to use the field officers of Masara Narziki for both cotton and maize production. This, to the association, was unsatisfactory as cotton was a crop which needs specialised handling and focus, and should not be merged with any other venture. He called on the government to intervene to clear the air on the state of cotton production in the region.