The Western Regional Minister, Hon. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah has pledged to establish a coconut refinery in the Jomoro Municipality to improve coconut production.
The Regional Minister made this assurance during a two-day visit to the Municipality to familiarize himself with problems facing the area and also to explain government policies to the Chiefs and people.
He bemoaned how the coconut farmers always sending the raw materials to Nigeria to boost their economy.
He said the time has come for the country to have its own coconut refinery to change the raw material of the product to so many finished products.
“The NPP government is committed to establish a coconut refinery in Jomoro here to change the raw form of the product into finished products and also to boost the local economy. Coconut is very important and we have to add value to it”, he said.
He noted that Jomoro is the right place for the establishment of the coconut refinery because the area has a lot of coconut farms in the Region.
“We have seen that in Ghana we don’t have coconut refinery that’s why our farmers send their produce to Nigeria because as Nigeria they have coconut refinery but we are going to make sure we also establish our own refinery to process the raw material”, he revealed.
The Minister said the establishment of the coconut refinery will create a lot of jobs for teeming unemployed youth in the area and Ghana as a whole.
He, therefore said before the refinery will be helpful, government has to cultivate coconut seedlings.
He revealed that government is going to cultivate 5 million hybrid coconut seedlings in Western Region.
He added that the hybrid coconut would be maturing in three years time when planted.
The Minister said Jomoro and Ahanta West Municipalities have be chosen as the areas where they were going to nursing the 5 million seedlings.
He promised to cultivate 1 million hybrid coconut seedlings in Jomoro as part of the 5 million.
He said the initiative is under the Government’s new policy called Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD).
On his part, the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for the area, Hon. Ernest Kofie called on the farmers to embrace the Planting for Food and Export for Rural Development (PERD) programme.
He revealed to the Regional Minister that already the Assembly has started sensitizing the farmers about the new variety.
He bemoaned how the coconut production is going down in the Municipality.
According to him, it appears investors and corporate entities in the country had lost sight of the economic value in the processing and sale of coconut related products.
He added that Jomoro Municipality was noted for its production of coconut oil for the local market.
He said if the refinery is established will produce processed coconut oil in larger quantities, which will be exported to other countries.
He promised to liaise with the coconut farmers to set up Watchdog Committee to protect their existing farms.
The MCE seized the opportunity to call on investors and corporate entities to take advantage of the One District One Factory program and set up factories to fully utilise the resources which were in abundance in the Municipality.
He reiterated that “Jomoro Municipality is expecting more than One Factory, because aside from coconut which is in abundance in the Municipality, Jomoro also has oil and other cash crops.. therefore, investors should take advantage of the policy of One District One Factory and troop into the Municipality and set up factories to leverage on these resources”.
He, however, asserted that his office was opened to welcome investors, and assured providing a business friendly environment for businesses to strive.
The Executives of Nzema Coconut Farmers expressed their profound appreciation to the Regional Minister for thinking about their work and promised to support the initiative.
Joe Bright Nyarko
Journalist/Communication Researcher. Environment & Sustainability Advocate. Managing Editor of aptnewsghana.com, a non-profit news portal with bias towards environment and sustainability issues, rural development policies and gender & inequality.