Mr Kasem Sulemana, the 2002 National Best Cotton Farmer, has appealed to the government to consider operationalising the Ghana Cotton Company and the abandoned Ginnery Factory at Tumu in the Upper West Region for employment generation.
He said the Sissala area was noted for larger production of cotton but the lack of commitment by successive governments to the cotton sector affected the level of production and the livelihood of the farmers in the area.
He said both the cotton company and the ginnery factory, if operationalised, had the potential of creating jobs to generate foreign exchange to the country through export.
Mr Sulemana made the appeal in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Jeffissi in the Sissala West District to mark the International Cotton Day, which is celebrated annually on October 7.
He said several farm inputs and machinery had been left to rot in the factory and appealed to government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, to support by auctioning abandoned farm equipment at affordable rates to farmers in the area.
“As farmers of Cotton, anytime we pass by the Cotton Ginnery and see how several implements have been left to rot, which we could put to better use, it breaks our hearts,” he said.
“The machinery left in the yard can still gin cotton, whilst some of the tractors, with little adjustment, can be used by farmers but we are allowing all of them to deteriorate beyond repair.”
A visit by the GNA to the Tumu Cotton yard showed only the security personnel present with over 20 tractors and vehicles left at the mercy of the weather in the bushy environment.
It also uncovered that not a single acre of the cotton field had been cultivated this year, but a few people told the GNA that production could bounce back with a good price if the government or other stakeholders could support farmers with cotton harvesting machine.
Dr Francis Ndamani, the Sissala East Municipal Director of Agriculture, said as a cash crop, cotton had a better potential to generate income for farmers and called for a well-established value-chain system with a clear policy to bring back cotton production in the Sissala area and other parts of northern Ghana.