The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), Mr Charles Abugre, has said that his outfit is working to drive foreign direct investments into the cotton industry which has huge potential in the northern part of the country.
He said the industry was the most transformational with a history of very labour intensive production and if combined with textiles, could create an industrial park .
“It creates thousands of jobs. Ethiopia,for example, has a million hectares of land in cotton production and they are growing to be the biggest textile exporting country in the world with half a million people in employment in the cotton and textile sector,” he said in an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS on the need for the government to harness other agricultural potentials in the northern savanna zone.
He said that the cotton sector did not seem to be a national priority.
“We must get it up and going on our own sakes. Fortunately, the chiefs of the areas which have a history of cotton cultivation are willing to make half a million-acres available. We will gradually get there,” he said.
The Cotton Development Authority (CDA)
In 2015, a nine-member board for the CDA was inaugurated in Tamale and charged with the responsibility to work closely with the Authority to revamp the cotton industry.
The then Minister for Food and Agriculture said the re-constitution of the board reflected the government’s commitment to revive the industry to make it more viable.
However, two years down the line not much has been seen. Sources say the Authority was set up without a budget and is being hosted at and financed by SADA.
Ghana Cotton Farmers Association (GCFA)
In a related development, the GCFA has appealed to the government to revive the cotton industry to create job opportunities for unemployed people in the northern savanna zone.
The Chief of the association, Osofo Patrick Adingtingah Apullah, said the agricultural sector employed many people, hence the need for more attention to be given to the sector.
He said there was the need for the government to make the right investment as well as put in place strategies to empower cotton farmers, which would earn the country a substantial exchange in return.
The country’s textile companies are struggling to survive in the face of keen foreign competition with thousands of workers laid off.
They have all been hit by trade liberation. GTP, was arguably the country’s flagship textile producer, prided with producing some of the most traditional prints in Ghana, including ‘Afi bi esan’, ‘subura’, ‘akyekyede akyi’, and ‘sika wo ntaban’, etc.
Unfortunately, these traditional prints are now being pirated outside and smuggled into Ghana. — GB