GHANA’S leading producer of banana, exporter of over 90% of bananas produced in the country, Golden Exotics Limited says it has lost in excess of €500,000 from the spillage of water from the Akosombo/Kpong hydro dams.
Manager in charge of Corporate Affairs and Administration at Golden Exotics Limited, Mr Mark Achel says “the company’s estimated cost so far, is over €500,000 and still counting. Apart from having portions of its farms totally submerged, the company has also had to deal with destroyed infrastructure such as dykes, culverts, electrical installations at their pumping stations, packing stations and the farm road networks, which the company had built at huge cost.”
The farms and infrastructure of Golden Exotics Limited are part of farms located around Asutsuare, Akuse, Torgome and their environs who have had to bear with the total flooding of their farmlands due to the spillage last week.
Golden Exotics Ltd (a Freezone Enterprise) cultivates over 2000 hectares of banana and has one of the biggest organic banana farms in the world. They employ almost 4000 permanent workers on their plantation.
Most of the farms and roads leading to the farms are now submerged in water. The most affected farmers are the fish, rice, mango and banana farms that are located along the Volta river.
The spillage has had a devastating effect on their production.
It is noteworthy that, October is normally their peak periods for harvest when they harvest over 2000 tonnes of fruit per week. They have already lost over 200 tons of banana last week and waters are still rising and lapping at the entrance to packhouses. How many more hundreds or thousands of tonnes will be lost, with water still being spilled for the next coming weeks? About 40 acres of their farms are submerged and workers cannot access the fruits. Villages where some workers come from such as Alabonu and its environs are inaccessible hence they are unable to attend to work.
The water level which during the rainy seasons rises to a maximum of 5 metres is current at 8.5 metres. With VRA still spilling, there is no end in sight.
Farms like Golden Exotics are going to have huge losses both production wise and financially for the year 2023. These are bound to affect Ghana’s drive to increase exports and foreign exchange, which the country needs now.
According to Mr Achel, Golden Exotics had not been engaged by the VRA on the spillage.
“Apart from informing the general public of the spillage, the volumes were not made known to us so we could plan If adequate information on the volumes of water spilled was made known to farmers around the area, and the communication made it clear that this event would be much more significant than usual, efforts could have been made to reduce the impact of the losses.
Some of the key challenges facing the company now is how to come by huge pumps to expel the water from the fields
“ After 72hrs we have lost everything . We need to cut the down the plants and replant and that’s so huge a cost to bear,” he concluded.