The Minister of Trade and Industries, Ms Hannah Tetteh, has inaugurated two cold stores for two women’s groups at Apam and Awutu-Bereku with a pledge that the government would not renege on its promise to offer strategic assistance to private businesses.
The cold storage facilities, estimated at GH¢70,000 each, are being provided under the Ministry’s “Private Sector Development Programme” launched last year to support fresh fish and vegetable women traders to avoid spoilage.
It has the capacity of storing 1,000 cartons of fish and an undisclosed amount of fresh vegetables which hitherto went bad due to lack of market.
It will also produce industrial ice blocks.
The beneficiary groups are the Apam Endurance Group Enterprise and the Sunkwa Women’s Group at Awutu-Bereku.
She expressed worry at the manner fish and fresh vegetables are handled on the market and questioned how safe the consumer was if nothing was done about it.
Ms. Tetteh said the Ministry will, before the end of the year, make provision for six additional cold storage facilities in some areas in the Region through the Central Region Development Commission (CEDECOM).
She said if the agriculture sector is given the needed boost, the country will enjoy sustainable development and indicated government’s intention to continue to give that sector attention to help address all the challenges that impede its growth.
Ms Tetteh urged them to use part of the proceeds to service the facility to prolong its life span adding that without regular maintenance the facilities would grind to a halt and the huge amount spent on it go down the drain.
The Gomoa West District coordinating Director, Mr. Sharif Musah, expressed gratitude to the government for the facilities, saying apart from the immense benefit women would derive from the facility, it would save fishermen from travelling to Tema and Accra to buy ice blocks.
The two women groups thanked the government for the support and stated that formerly unsold fish had to be thrown back into the sea due to lack of storage facility in their area and expressed delight that that story would be a thing of the past.