The promise of jobs and change in lives that came with the establishment of the Aveyime Rice Factory has been shattered.
Government owns 60 percent shares in Prairie Volta Limited (PVL) as the majority shareholder with 30 percent directly through the Ministry of Food & Agriculture, and 30 percent indirectly through the GCB Bank, but the factory has been abandoned.
It is estimated that about 500 workers have since lost their jobs.
Checks revealed that the Aveyime Rice Factory which was expected to save Ghana over $600 million at full production from the import of rice into the country is now closed.
The once vibrant and largest rice farm in the country is now a pale shadow of itself with its machines meant for production taken over by weeds and ruminants.
There was no one at the site and the gates were left open with nobody at the security post but 10 minutes of entering the main yard, a security officer emerged from an abandoned workshop.
The security officer, who pleaded anonymity, said since the shutdown of the Prairie Volta Limited, the number of workers have been reduced from over 500 to three management members and eleven security personnel.
He said while the security personnel man the facility, the three-member staff also meet occasionally to plan the future of the company.
“At first, we were over 500 staff but as we speak, we have only 11 security personnel and three management staff who are managing the company. Apart from us (security) who are here all the time, the three management staff come here once a while.”
About 18 tractors, heavy-duty machines, 4×4 pick-up vehicles, pumping machines, and a 40 feet truck among other farming equipment have all been left at the mercy of the weather.
The security officer said that most of the equipment are rusting due to neglect and waste.
“The machines and all the equipment you see here are all going waste, as they have not been maintained and put to use in a very long time,” he said.
“This very harvester developed a minor fault but because there is no money to maintain it, body parts of other harvesters that could also be maintained to work are being removed to service others. So as we speak, this harvester has been grounded and its parts are being used to service maintain the other two.”
He said the company, which is cash-strapped, would need millions of cedis to revamp it.
“These equipment you see here are very sophisticated agricultural equipment built have been allowed to go waste here. Even if the company is back on its feet, the management would need million of cedis to maintain them.
This is a company that government has shares in but would not do anything to help us,” he noted. Weeds have in most cases taken over heavy duty machines on site.
“A restricted agricultural aircraft which is used to spray fertilizers on crops and also prevent insects from feeding on them has also been chained in the yard with cobwebs taking over.”