Elders and people of Ekumfi, a predominantly pineapple growing area in the Central Region of Ghana are now filled with a renewed hope and aspiration over the launch of government’s nationwide industrialization policy dubbed One District One Factory project.
The flagship policy which was unveiled by president Nana Akufo-Addo at Ekumfi Abonten last week to pave way for the construction of a pineapple factory, has not only overwhelmed the natives but has restored their lost hope in the mass pineapple cultivation which they believe will serve as a tool to fighting poverty in the district.
The Ekumfi district which is one of the hardest hit by poverty has a projected total population of 68,419 (in 2013) made up of 32,481 males and 35,578 females.
The annual population growth rate of the district is 2.8 per cent while the illiteracy rate is almost 50 percent.
There are 55 communities in the district with Narkwa being the most densely populated fishing community.
School dropout, teenage pregnancy, malnutrition, lack of good roads, portable water and health centers still the major challenges facing many communities in the district.
The district is currently lying at the bottom of the Center for Democratic Development’s District League Table.
Pineapple production is the main farming activity in the district. However, other agricultural products such as vegetables and fruits are also grown on a large scale which means more than one factory is needed if the country will fully tap this industrial potential in the near future.
Some of the excited residents expressed their gratitude to the president for starting the program in their district, something they never anticipated.
Joyce Amoh a pineapple seller said the project will create employment in the area which she believes will improve living conditions of the people.
She noted that she inherited the pineapple business from her parents but because the demand is always low life has been very difficult for her family and hopes with the new project she can buy in high quantity sell them to the factory.
Abuasuapanyin Nana Enddo, a farmer who owns large tract of farm land appealed to government to provide them the needed machinery to enable them cultivate large farms in order to make the project successful.
He said it is good news but could be made better when farmers and other stakeholders work hard.
Nana Kweedu, an award winning farmer commended the president for making Ekumfi the gate way for One District One Factory project but cautioned against the politicization of the project.
Even though the project is a very good initiative he believes there is the need to build the capacity of farmers of Ekumfi, supply of the right agro chemicals and ensure total commitment of the farmers.
According to him pineapple farming became unattractive when their produce was not getting good market and the situation compelled many of them to divert to areas such as corn and vegetable cultivation .
Nana Kweedu suggested a formation of Ekumfi Pineapple Farmers Association to be the backbone of the project since vibrant farmer association can produce the expected raw materials and that will serve as a driving force behind the factory.
Ernestina Acquah a public servant who also doubles as farmer said the timing of the project is great. She opined that once the project has begun in the first year of this administration it has more time to deal with challenges if any.
She appealed to all Ekumfi residents to help sustain the project since it will create employment to reduce poverty in the district.
According to her the smooth running of the factory with farmers producing in high quantity will significantly increase household income to enable parents to cater for their children’s education.
She noted its a dream come true for many because the local economy will boom and it will attract other businesses to come and operate in the district.
Source: Joy Online