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Bawumia cuts sod for €1.8 million rubber plantation project

Vice-President Bawumia waters a seedling at the ADOA rubber plantation project, Assin Nsuta

Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has cut the sod for the start of a €1.8 million rubber plantation project at Assin Nsuta in the Central Region.

The 826-acre rubber plantation, managed by the Anglican Diocese of Accra (ADOA), is the single largest initiative in the rubber industry in Ghana.

Speaking at the colourful sod-cutting ceremony on Friday (29 April 2022), Dr Bawumia said he was extremely proud to be associated with the momentous venture by the Anglican Church.

He said the project will go a long way to create decent jobs for the large numbers of unemployed young people in the area and contribute to Ghana’s socio-economic development.

The vice-president highlighted the importance of the industry, saying natural rubber production in Ghana will not only reduce the cost of imports, but also contribute significantly to the country’s GDP.

The government, he said, is geared towards supporting private organisations and is eager to partner faith-based institutions to undertake such meaningful ventures.

“I am very excited today. This is a very important undertaking and we cannot afford to let it fail,” he said.

Bawumia also described the plantation project as a very important one and a “game-changer”, providing the raw material and supplies for many industrial establishments.

He said the rubber plantation also ties in with government flagship programmes such as Planting for Food and Jobs, Planting for Export and Rural Development, and One District, One Factory, all cherished ambitions of the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Dr Bawumia used the occasion to entreat other faith-based organisations to emulate the laudable ADOA project, adding that, as churches, “you come as credible investors, and very soon we will have One Church, One Plantation”, he said.

Addressing the gathering, the deputy lands and natural resources minister Benito Owusu Bio, speaking on behalf of the sector minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, appealed to Anglican dioceses across the country to participate actively in the next national tree planting exercise on Green Ghana Day, scheduled for 10 June 2022. He also commended the Church for its support in organising the first Green Ghana Day.

The deputy minister said arrangements are being made for distribution of seedlings of various species of trees through all regional and district forestry offices to selected locations where members of the public and organisations can make collections.

He affirmed the ministry’s commitment to assist the ADOA plantation in processing its land documentation and other matters, and encouraged the managers to continue to expand the project. This will secure a sustainable source of revenue for the Anglican Church, Bio said, and benefit its members.

In remarks on behalf of the ADOA, the managing director of the project, Reverend Canon Ebenezer Jones Okai, said faith-based organisations are development partners with the government; as such, they will collaborate with the state to ensure the sustainability of the plantation.

He also stressed the importance of collaboration and partnership between the Church and the residents of Assin Nsuta, and called on them to be active stakeholders in the project.

The chief of Assin Nsuta, Dr Nana Ohemeng Owhere V, gave a historical overview of the Assin Nsuta land acquired for the project, saying it was originally stool land but then, in the 1970s, was vested in the state.

Nana Ohemeng Owhere was however quick to add that “we have not sold the land, but rather we have leased the land to ADOA”.

He  called on the people of Assin Nsuta to co-operate fully with ADOA for the successful take-off of the business.

The Central Regional Minister, Justina Marigold Assan, said the government is committed to supporting individuals and organisations interested in going into production, and especially agriculture.

She said it is the collective responsibility of all parties to come together to help the government to succeed as an agent of development.

The rubber plantation is financed by ADB, formerly known as the Agricultural Development Bank.

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