Agric officers at Agona in the Sekyere South District of the Ashanti Region have begun processes to add value to oil palm harvested by farmers in the area.
The officers are worried about the losses farmers incur after harvest as they get cheaper prices for the produce.
Although there is a ready market for the produce, the farmers are compelled to sell at very cheap prices due to the absence of facilities to convert the Oil Palm into finished products.
The concerns came up after the Sekyere South District Assembly distributed Oil Palm seedlings to farmers in the area.
More than hundred farmers in various communities in the district are into the cultivation of Oil Palm.
Although successive governments have consistently assisted these farmers to acquire free seedlings to boost production, agric officers in the district are concerned that the farmers are not getting the required profit after harvest.
Sekyere South District Director for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), John Ankoma Koranteng, said plans are in place to add value to the produce before taking it to the market.
“We have some challenges with the oil palm plantation. Marketing is a problem, so, we have even started with the marketing though it is not ready. We have a whole lot of groups who come around to pick some of this oil palm when it is harvested. They come and they buy it at a very low price. So, we are trying to see if we can add value to the oil palm when it is harvested. We can go into oil production; we can go into a whole lot of things with the oil palm. Value will be added to this product and at the end of the day those who will enter into this production will get a lot of advantages”, he explained
He added that his office is coming up with a new variety of Oil Palm seedlings that can yield highly within four years.
The farmers have once again benefited from free distribution of 10,000 Oil Palm seedlings from the Assembly.
Beneficiary farmers say this comes as a relief.
One of them, Kwabena Mensah said “When I traveled to Cote d’Ivoire, I realized that farmers engaged in the cultivation of Oil Palm were making a lot of profit, so that informed my decision to go into its cultivation. At that time, then President Kufour gave us some of the seedlings and since then there has been improvement in the cultivation. Such interventions by the Government through the Assembly really helps us the farmers here”.
District Chief Executive (DCE) for the area, Katherine Reckling, who presented the seedlings to the farmers reminded them to continue to observe COVID-19 safety measures.