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Nduom encroached on Sugar Factory land – J.S. Annan

 Papa Kwesi Nduom GN BANK SHIRTDr. Papa Kwesi Nduom has encroached upon the land earmarked for the growing of sugarcane to feed the rebuilt Komenda Sugar Factory, former Member of Parliament for the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem Constituency, Dr. J.S. Annan has said.

 
According to the former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Nduom’s proposed university, which is yet to be constructed, will eat into Farm-6 of the huge tract of land reserved for growing sugarcane.
 
“…Of course there has been encroachment by everybody that encroaches in this country. I can see people have built houses, and I think from the maps that I studied and looked at very carefully – you know the Komenda Sugar Factory Land was divided into Farm-1, Farm-2, Farm-3 and so on… – now what I can see from Farm-6 is that it has been encroached by Dr Nduom’s proposed university, because years ago, there used to be sugarcane grown there. So, if you go and ascertain that yourself, you’ll see that – I think Farm-6 – has been [encroached upon] and so the farm has shrunk”, Dr. Annan told Prince Minkah, host of Class91.3Fm’s Executive Breakfast Show on Tuesday June 14.
 
According to the former Deputy Education Minister, “…the feasibility studies that were done clearly showed that we need about 1,700 hectares. We have the Komenda Sugar Factory that has about 1,500 acres left and then the surrounding areas can even produce more. …But the important thing is, it’s not just the hectarage, it’s the production per hectarage, the tonnage per hectarage, because the second tranche of this money [US$35 million Indian Exim Bank facility] is going to increase the productivity and even bring varieties that have a higher sugar content”.
 
“So, maybe on one acre, if you are producing 60 tonnes now, with the right technology, the right support to the farmers, you can produce double that”, Dr. Annan said.
 
President John Mahama on Monday May 30 inaugurated the revamped factory in the Central Region.
 
The factory, which was established decades ago by the first President of Ghana, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was left to its fate after some technical and operational challenges. Hundreds of jobs were lost as a result.
 
President Mahama, two years ago, secured a US$35-million Indian Exim Bank facility to bring the factory back to life. The factory, according to the President, is expected to create more than 7,000 jobs.
 
Earlier this year, President Mahama said: “…Now that the factory is up, we are going to give the road from Komenda junction to Komenda on contract. It will not only come to the factory, it will go all the way to Komenda town and so that is the step of industrialising the country. Step by step, we are changing lives in this country and we are transforming Ghana.”
 
“If we are able to encourage sugar growing in this area, the income that will be generated by the young people will be phenomenal and be able to change their lives so that we can produce enough to feed the factory. The factory will produce sugar to cut down the amount of sugar that we import into this country. Any amount of sugar that this factory produces, we will reduce that amount of sugar from coming in through importation,” Mr Mahama said.
 
Days after the President’s inauguration of the factory, Dr Nduom took issue with the government over the viability of the plant by posing a number of questions.
 
Dr Nduom, a businessman and politician, said although the factory is a good project and Groupe Nduom was ready to support it to become successful: “I have some questions based on the Ayensu Starch Factory, the Kumasi Shoe Factory and the Pwalugu Tomato Factory started under the NPP and NDC administrations that have proven less than able to deliver the projected jobs and sustainability. Also, the fish processing factory sited in Elmina that so far has been underwhelming in its performance: Who are the owners of this sugar factory – private and public sector? Where will the sugarcane come from immediately to provide raw materials for this factory? Why did the raw material project not come first? How will we ensure that the sugar produced will be competitive against imports? Will the government protect this factory's products and how? What measures have been put in place to insulate this factory against partisan politics so it is not abandoned when a party other than the NDC wins power?”
 
Addressing students at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) on the issue of sugarcane for the factory, the 2012 presidential aspirant said: “They come and tell us that they are putting a sugar factory there. We are all happy when there is a sugar factory coming so that we don’t import as much sugar, but why are they employing people? There is advertisement in the newspapers that they are employing people for the sugar factory and I have gone to walk around there.
 
“Sugar factory, but where is the sugarcane? They are not growing any sugarcane in Komenda or in Elmina or in Kissi or on any of those areas. I am old enough to know that I came to meet a sugar factory in Komenda and all over by the roadside they grew sugarcane. So, if we have put a factory there funded by the Indians and there are some Indian people there and they are now recruiting some Ghanaians, where is the sugarcane going to come from to be turned into sugar?
 
“What it means is that somebody is going to import the raw material to come to Ghana so that it can be processed and they will show it to us as sugar from Ghana and what will be the value added? When I look at it I say that is my tax money that they are playing with.”