Tumu, Feb. 28, GNA - The Agricultural Development Bank(ADB) would soon open a branch in Tumu to support cotton farmers and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture programmes, Alhaji Ibrahim Adam, Board Chairman of the Bank has announced.
He said erratic financing coupled with lawlessness and indiscipline had been the bane of cotton farming in the country.
Alhaji Adam made this known at a farmers\' durbar in Tumu to launch the Cotton \"White Gold\" campaign in the North West Zone of the Upper West Region on Saturday.
He said the bank would make sure that the right things were done to sustain cotton production in the area.
Alhaji Issahaque Salia, Upper West Regional Minister, said during the good days of cotton production, the youth in the north had ready employment.
He said the downturn in its operations had affected the general well-being of farmers and workers.
Many workers were laid off as many people deserted the communities during the sad days of cotton production in the north therefore revamping the cotton industry in the north and encouraging farmers to grow the crop in the 2011 crop season was welcoming news, Alhaji Salia said.
He said farmers in the Sissala East and Sissala West Districts were hardworking cotton farmers and appealed to them to take up the challenge to produce more cotton to feed the textile industry and as well enhance their economies and livelihoods.
Alhaji Salia appealed to Olam Ghana Limited to make available tractor service and farm inputs such as fertilizers for farmers to expand their acres.
Alhaji Salia said: \"it would be safer to synchronize activities properly to make the best out of the unfavourable weather conditions, while efforts were being made to provide irrigation facilities to modernise the industry\", he advised.
The Gwollu Kuoro Buktie Limann, Paramount chief of the Gwollu, in a statement, said the cotton industry failed because cotton companies had always protected only their interest to the neglect of farmers.
\"Cotton collapsed because cotton companies were the only beneficiaries while they left out farmers in poverty. They also brought in high toxic chemicals which long effects had impoverished the lands and with no alternative services for farmers to make ends meet\", Kuoro Limann pointed out.
Kuoro Limann therefore appealed to Olam Ghana Limited to provide potable water, irrigation facilities, school blocks and feeder roads to farmers in the area, as part of its corporate social responsibility to the people.
He also appealed to Olam Ghana to establish oil extraction factory to crush the cotton seed into oil and animal feed.
\"Olam Ghana should diversify its operations to cover the Shea nut industry, which also has the potential of promoting the livelihoods of the people\', the Gwollu Kuoro added.
Mr. Mritunjay Das, Business Head of Olam Ghana, assured the farmers that the company would improve cotton cultivation in the area through the provision of cotton seeds and the supply of farm inputs to enhance yields.
Improving the livelihoods of farmers through other alternatives had been the focus of Olam Ghana, Mr. Das said, pointing out that the company would provide tractor services at the appropriate time for early preparation of new cotton fields and also ensure transparency in all its operations.
Mr. Das said Olam would pre-finance the operations of the best cotton farmers and provide schools and dams as part of its social commitment to the farmers and would as well encourage the farmers to engage in other alternatives such as the production of Shea nut and other crops.