Mr Ernest AdakwaYiadom, the Techiman North District Planning Officer, disclosed that the factory was not in operation after a technical fault was discovered in one of the burners, saying it was sent back to Brazil by the Brazilian contractor for replacement but has since 2017 not returned.
When the Ghanaian Times visited the project site on Tuesday, it was discovered that the factory had been overgrown by weeds with stray animals grazing on the compound.It was also found out that the official documentation which included the cost of the factory and operational manual could not be traced at the Nkroranza District Assembly and office of the Directorate of Agriculture at Techiman.
Some residents who spoke with this reporter, expressed anger about poor state of the factory and threatened to go on a peaceful demonstration for the government to get the factory restarted.
The project which was funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), was initiated by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), under the Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Project (GASIP).
Other implementing partners were the National Resource Institute (NRI) of the Greenwich University, in the United Kingdom (UK) under the “Increasing the performance of the cassava industry in West and Central Africa (IPCI – WCA) project and the Netherlands Development Organisation.
Adding his voice to the situation, the Assemblyman for Asueyi Electoral Area, BenjaminYeboah, said the community was known for the production of several hundred tonnes of cassava annually, saying that “the installation of the gari processor was a relief to us, unfortunately it has become a white elephant.”
According to him, farmers in the Asueyi enclave attended a series of farmer field training workshops on large scale cassava production to enable them to provide sustainable raw materials for the factory’s operation.
Mr Yeboah noted that the gasification plant when operationalised, would generate additional electricity and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in commercial quantities to compliment the national grid.
“The cassava peels and other waste around the processing plant will be used as feedstock to the factory, thereby minimising the negative effects of gari production on the environment,” he told the Ghanaian Times.
He indicated that the project which was under the roots and tuber programme of IFAD, and grants released in 2014, would provide direct and indirect employment to hundreds of people in the Bono East Region and beyond.
The Assembly Member appealed to the Ministries of Energy, Trade and Industry, and Food and Agriculture to urgently intervene to harness the full potential of the factory in order to improve the livelihood of residents and the local economy.
The Bono East Regional Director for the Department of Agriculture, Mrs Cecilia Kedja, who was worried about the factory’s neglect, however, was hopeful that the gari factory would bounce back to life when new burners were fixed.
The Kyeame of Asueyi, Nana Kwadwo Mensah, said he was sad about the abandoned facility and therefore, appealed to the Bono East Regional Minister, Mr AduGyan and the Techiman North District Assembly to ensure the factory was operationalised to improve upon the economy conditions of the people.
The kyeame said “if such cost-intensive landmark investment by IFAD and partners are to rust with no reason, while a lot of the youth are unemployed, then what impression is the country sending to tourists and investors “.