…Lures Volta cassava farmer with cash to claim farm for ‘one district, one factory’ policy
…As promised clay factory mutates into palm nut factory, into alcohol factory and then starch factory
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is employing the best of its wooing skills to cajole a cassava farmer in the Adaklu District of the Volta Region into allowing the government adopt his farm under the flagship ‘one district, one factory’ policy.
As part of the seduction, the government has dangled dollars before the eyes of the local farmer to entice him into agreeing to allow government splash its name on the farm and a starch production venture that is in the offing.
The project will later be launched with fanfare and presented to Ghanaians as a wave of the magic wand by President Nana Akufo-Addo under the ‘one district, one factory’ policy, if the farmer agrees to allow his farm and starch project to be adopted.
Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Kwame Governs Agbodza, yesterday told Accra-based ‘Radio Gold’ that the farm and starch production venture which the government is trying to hire is what has already been announced by the Volta Regional Minister as a starch factory being put up by the government.
Dr. Archibald Letsa, the regional minister, a couple of days ago announced that the government would soon cut sod to commence the construction of a starch factory in the Adaklu District under the one district one factory policy.
Dr. Letsa, who had made the announcement at the 17th Congregation of the Ho Technical University, had said the starch factory would be the first of a number of factories that the region would receive under the flagship policy.
However, as it is turning out, the starch factory is a private project that is already in the offing in the district.
The NPP government, which is wobbling under its grandiloquent promise to build a factory in each of the 216 districts across the country, is only seeking to slap its name on the project.
“What I know is that there is somebody who is already growing cassava and trying to do some starch thing near Gavorkope within the Adaklu District. I’m told that they (government) have gone to that man cajoling him to come on board so that they will give him part of the one million dollars per constituency which we all know that that money will be disbursed through the development zones…
“If the man agrees then they will give him part of the money and head hunt his farm to become a so-called one district, one factory, producing starch in Adaklu,” Hon. Kwame Agbodza told Radio Gold yesterday.
The move to hire honors in Adaklu is a replication of the relaunch of a private pineapple factory in Ekumfi in the Central Region by President Akufo-Addo in August, this year, which was touted as the opener for the flagship policy, even though the same factory had earlier been launched as far back as 2013.
Almost 11 months into the administration of President Akufo-Addo, the NPP government’s inability to start even a single factory from scratch on its own means that a promise to commence the construction of at least 51 factories before the end of 2017 is likely to be broken.
In August, this year, the public relations officer of the One District, One Factory Secretariat, Kweku Gyasi, had promised that the NPP government would commence at least 51 of the factories before the end of the year.
“This year, all other things being equal, we want to start with 51 factories,” Mr. Gyasi had promised on Accra-based TV3. However, it is almost the penultimate month of the year and not even a single of the factories have been started by the NPP government.
Rather, the government has taken to hitchhiking on factory projects that have already been started by private individuals, with President Akufo-Addo relaunching the pineapple factory in Ekumfi, which his predecessor, President John Mahama, had launched in 2013.
Some two months down the line, Akufo-Addo’s Volta Regional Minister is leading efforts to seduce a cassava farmer in Adaklu into lending the name of his project to the government.
Interestingly, Dr. Archibald Letsa has claimed that the Adaklu cassava farm and starch project that the government is lobbying to place its name on, will be the first of a number of factories that would benefit the Volta Region under the ‘one district, one factory’ policy.
In February, this year, selfsame Archibald Letsa had claimed that a kente village in Kpetoe was the first benefit to the region under ‘one district, one factory.’
Dr. Letsa had named the Agortime Kente Village as the first project for the Volta Region under the one district one factory policy after he had cut sod for it in February.
Apparently, the minister has since beaten a retreat from that February narration because right at the same sod-cutting ceremony, Eddie Akotey, the chairman for the planning committee of the Kente Village, had made it clear that the sod- cutting ceremony only marked the actualization phase of a dream that had started 25 years earlier. 25 years ago, J.J. Rawlings was the President, not Akufo-Addo.
And so from the Agortime Kente Village being touted in February as the first factory for the Volta Region under the NPP’s one district, one factory policy, it is now the Adaklu cassava farm, which actually belongs to a private farmer that is the first factory for the Volta Region under the policy.
Meanwhile, Hon. Kwame Agbodza has revealed that even the claim that a starch factory is what the government wants to establish for the Adaklu District is just a phase of a constantly mutating promise.
Initially, the NPP government had promised to build a clay factory, and then changed it into a promise to build a palm nut factory; which was later changed into an alcohol factory and now finally changed into a promise to build a starch factory.
“Don’t forget, not too long ago prior to 2016 elections, the NPP promised that they were going to set up a clay factory in Adaklu. When we pointed out that clay would require water to do anything then they changed it to palm nut factory. When I reminded them that we don’t have any palm plantation in Adaklu, then they changed it to alcohol factory. Of course, you still need water to do alcohol factory, then recently we are hearing that it’s going to be a starch factory,” Hon. Agbodza told Radio Gold.
The constant goal post shifting strategy by the NPP is simply due to the fact that the promise to build a factory in Adaklu has not been thought through by the government which has not even taken time to familiarize itself with factors on the ground.
According to the MP, problems facing the district are mainly in the form of poor road network and unavailability of good water.
He lamented that contracts that the erstwhile Mahama government gave out for roads to be constructed in the district have largely been stopped by the same NPP government which is claiming that it has plans to establish a factory in that district.
He said as almost all the road contracts have been stopped by the NPP government, it is only the contract to construct the road between Akwete and Waya that is still ongoing, albeit at a very slow pace.
Another problem is the lack of good drinking water, with a water project started by the Mahama regime in Adaklu as part of a five district water project, also being stalled by the NPP government.
It has since become a wonder as to how the NPP government could hop on to the idea of building a factory in Adaklu when the district is battling with poor roads and lack of water.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels