The Department of Feeder Roads is to liaise with operators in the farm produce chain in Nkwanta-North and Nkwanta-South districts and adjoining areas to map out important supply routes for repairs.
This is to avert the loss of farm produce due to poor roads in the area.
Mr Kobina Takyi Sam, Feeder Roads Director for the two Nkwanta districts was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at a forum for the presentation of research results held at Nkwanta on Thursday.
The research, which was based on the effects of bad roads and the movement of gari and other cassava products from the area to markets within and outside Ghana, was under the aegis of the Northern Volta Gari Processors Association (NOVOGAP), with support from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund.
Mr Takyi conceded the roads were bad but stressed that some prioritization was needed to ensure that the feeder road arteries essential to the gari business were tackled first.
Mr Atsu Kuebutornye, Nkwanta-North Director of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), told the GNA that a decade and over of Roots and Tubers Improvement and Marketing Project (RTIMP) had considerably raised the stakes of cassava production in the area.
He said around 30,000 hectares of land were cropped, which yielded about 450,000 tonnes of cassava annually.
Mr Kuebutornye however regretted that some of the producing areas did not even have tractors.
Ms Beatrice Tempong, MOFA Nkwanta-South District Desk Officer of the Women in Agricultural Development, said the largely transitional nature of vegetation, adequate rains and its amenability to cultivation all-year-round made cassava an important produce in the economic lives of the people, especially women.
She said the production of gari, both in groups and individually, had considerably raised the incomes of women in the area.
Mrs Cynthia Sekyre, NOVAGAP Coordinator, said the group comprised 1,120 members and in addition to gari, produced starch and ‘kokonte,’ local flour made from dried cassava.
She said there was demand for these products in adjoining countries and that a contract from India for the supply of starch was bungled because of difficulty to access to the production areas.
MARIGOLD ALMA Consult Limited, an Accra-based firm carried out the research which investigated the problems, constraints and challenges confronting the construction of the main Nkwanta road and the rehabilitation of the other feeder road networks in the area.
The Advocacy project also aimed to persuade the authorities to allocate human, financial and material resources to the construction of the road network, both trunk and feeder roads, to enhance the movement of farm produce to marketing centres, as well as prevent loss of income and consequently reduce poverty.
Mr Samuel Kwawukumey, the Research Officer, provided the well-attended forum with pictorial accounts of difficult access to the food- producing areas and the trunk roads that led to the marketing centres.
Mr Ebenezer Nibo, Assistant Manager of the Guaman Rural Agency at Nkwanta, said the roads were collapsing many businesses in the area and affecting their ability to service loans contracted from banks.
Nana Kennewu rpt Kennewu Addo II, Paramount Chief of Challa Traditional Area, told the forum that the economic value of roads was more important for the people than the political benefits it would bring to political groupings.
Mr Joseph Kwaku Benyingi, a retired educationist who chaired the function, urged government officials and political appointees in the area to associate with the problems of the people. GNA