Bono East, The hub of raw material for agro-industrialization

Techiman (BE/R), The Bono East Region is the fourth largest region in Ghana and is endowed with a vast land of 23,654 kilometers.

Over 95 per cent of the land is suitable for commercial farming. The Region’s population is projected to be 1,179,649 out of which about 80 per cent are engage in farming, mostly at the subsistence level.

A long stretch of the Volta River serves as the natural boundary to the North and South Eastern corner provides a huge potential for the aquaculture and the fisheries sub-sector.

The Region has the potential of becoming one of the food baskets and commercial hubs in the country, if government’s attention will be given to commercial farming to attract the educated youth into such a venture.

The development of a modern cattle ranch in Kintampo was started under former President John Agyekum Kufour’s government. Feasibility studies were carried out and a large stretch of land was acquired at Amoma in Kintampo South. The project was to be executed by the Australian government in partnership with Ghana government, but this could not materialize. Some work has again started under President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo’s administration in partnership with the Canadian government. Other countries, including Brazil have shown interest in cattle ranching in Kintampo North.

It is possible to ensure that a vibrant modern ranch driven with technology and innovation would be established in the Kintampo North and South Districts to feed into an ultra-modern dairy industry to be established under the one district one factory (1D1F) program in Kintampo.

Mr. Kwesi Adu Gyan, the Bono East Regional Minister, in his vision during his assumption of office, promised to improve the socio-economic development in the Region to promote agro-industrialization.

Mr. Gyan said as part of efforts to make the Region a hub of raw materials for the country, works were in progress to revamp the Vegetable Park in Techiman North and South, the Tanoso Irrigation Project in
Techiman South and Subinso Irrigation Project in Ofuman to be developed into modern vegetable agro parks for all year vegetable production. They would indeed become the raw material base for companies through effective collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and its agencies.

Mr. Gyan told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Techiman that in an effort to revamp more of the agro institutions in the Region, Atebubu Amantin and the Pru Districts were currently under extensive outgrowing scheme by Amanten Agro Company and Central Sugar Company in Prang.

These factories have the capacity to absorb a huge number of the unemployed youth. It is the vision of President Akufo Addo to ensure that factories under the 1D1F were operating in full capacity, adding that plans were underway to adopt a modern approach to block farming using incubation and entrepreneurship to make farming become an attractive venture for the youth.

Furthermore, Mr. Gyan emphasized that the Bono East Region would continue to be the bread basket of Ghana by engaging MoFA under the government’s flagship projects, such as; planting for food and jobs, rearing for food and jobs, planting for exports and rural development, applying modern methods of farming, making use of high yield seeds and better storage, and preservation system for the small medium scale farmer to produce enough tuber crops, grains, legumes and vegetables for human consumption.
Business Development and Industrialization.

President Akufo Addo’s vision to diversify the structure of the Ghanaian economy by changing from the old practice of production and export of raw materials to value addition through production and processing of the farm produce.

This vision holds a lot of promise for the Bono East Region with the support of stakeholders to make the Region a preferred destination for the 1D1F policy. This will be possible by strengthening and intensifying the production of raw materials that industries need.

Currently, Ghana Nuts Company in Techiman, OBAPAK Company in Tuobodom, Amanten Agro Comapany in Amanten, Central Sugar Company in Prang operating in the Bono East Region has difficulties in securing enough raw materials for production.

The situation when resolved would enable them produce enough whilst creating more jobs opportunities and increasing the living standards of the people. The development of a dairy industry in Kintampo would be in addition to other agro processing factories that might spring up as a result of the abundant raw materials.

Human Capital Development

Education and human resource development is undoubtedly the most important tool in the pursuit of socio-economic progress of people. There is an urgent need to leverage the opportunities offered by education and training to increase the knowledge, skills and exploit the abilities of the people (especially the youth) in the Bono East Region.

To realize this, the Region would collaborate with stakeholders in education to increase enrolment and improve students’ performance at all levels, provide the enabling environment for the Ministry of Education to establish Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Senior High Schools (SHS).

On the course for good infrastructure, the existence of modern infrastructure for accelerated growth and development cannot be over emphasized. The physical and organizational structures and facilities would determine to a large extent how a holistic development would be pursued. It would also enhance connectivity, partnership, inclusiveness, job creation and poverty alleviation.

Redevelopment of markets, increasing of water and electricity coverage, Construction and repair of schools and hospitals, construction of major road projects, development of an airfield, development of IT infrastructure, government land acquisition, documentation and protection in the districts and Municipalities of the Region will be considered.

Mining, Tourism, Petroleum

Other sectors such as mining, oil and gas as well as tourism would be taken care off. The Minister had visited both Petroleum and Minerals Commissions of Ghana to abreast himself with the knowledge in minerals and oil deposits in the Region.

The Region has been assured of education and sensitization of the people by both Commissions. Building the capacity of our people to enable them take active part particularly in the provision of services and activities under local content is paramount. The Region would follow up on this with enthusiasm and update the people when the need arises.

Strategic Plan and Technical Committees

A collective and diligent pursuit of this vision would largely engender coordinated and accelerated development in the Region.

All ongoing developmental projects would continue and every effort would be made to ensure their timely completion.

To stay focus and work according to plan, the Bono East Regional Minister said, he was putting together a think tank of professionals with diverse backgrounds to draw a strategic plan for the Region. The strategic plan would as much as possible be the blue print for the short and long term development of the Region.

Think tank Committees of eminent personalities in the Region have been formed to provide guidance, direction and advice for the accelerated development and pragmatic ideas and suggestion that would drive the five year strategic plan, which would subsequently feed into the National Development and Economic Planning agenda of the Government of Ghana.

The strategic plan would include a new approach that would depart from the reliance on government funding to meet the developmental needs of the region.

Consequently, Mr. Gyan added, he would begin consultations to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the Region to attract public, donor and private funding to undertake development projects.

The SPV would be the development secretariat of the Regional Coordinating Council to design, develop, implement and manage special economic development projects in the Region. It would be the technical wing and development agency of Bono East. It would become a permanent vehicle for mobilizing resources for the development of the Region.

Peace and Security

The afore-mentioned would be realized if the Region is secured and people are able to carry out their day-to-day activities without fear and panic. Therefore, as the head of the Regional Security Council, (REGSEC), the Minister would team up with the various regional security commanders to come out with strategies that could improve peace and security in the Region. Particular attention would be given to patrols on the Kintampo-Buipe, Atebubu-Kwame Danso, Atebubu-Prang-Yeji roads and other roads that travellers occasionally experience armed robbery attacks.

The Minister said he would also work with the Regional House of Chiefs to ensure speedy and peaceful resolution of chieftaincy disputes. The number of chieftaincy disputes in the Region could affect the quest for peace and development.

Recent developments of clashes between Cattle Herdsmen and crop farmers in Kintampo South, Kintampo North, Nkoranza North and South, Pru leading to sporadic killings, violence and loss of properties and livelihood of the citizenry is a major security threat to the peace and security of the region.

Conclusion

The office of the Regional Minister would operate an open door policy to
all who are ready to contribute. The Media is expected to play a vital role in this drive. “I will request the tacit support of the media in carrying out my mandate. Your reports and broadcast could foster development as well as endanger the peace and development of the Region.

“As professionals, I entreat you to do accurate and unbiased reportage, devoid of mudslinging, provocation and tribalism.

Our region is a microcosm of the country. We have people from all parts of the country living and working here. We are all citizens of the Region and therefore should continue to live in peace.

“I implore you to resist any temptation to use your platforms as pressmen to breach the peace of the Region, he noted.

He advised the media to confirm information before publishing for the interest of the Region.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

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