Industries that use cassava as a raw material for production are debunking assertions that they are the cause of the shortage of the crop for domestic users.
There is an astronomical increase in the price of cassava due to its shortage on the market. The price of the commodity is now selling at about Gh¢10 for three to four tubers.
Cassava is most commonly used for ‘Gari’ – fermented and ground into granules similar to fine couscous – or pounded into a mashed potato-like consistency as Fufu – eaten with soups or sauces.
Some traders are blaming the brewery industry for the development. According to them, many farmers prefer selling to the industries than traders.
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Alhaji Mohammed Muniru Limuna, speaking at a meet-the-press series to highlight the interventions, achievements and the way forward of the ministry’s activities, said there was increased use of local resource materials such as cassava and maize for manufacturing activities by some breweries in Ghana, to replace imported barley for their beverages.
“We should not lose sight that local raw materials used are outputs from the agriculture sector.”
But the Communications Manager of Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL), Rita Rockson said this assertion is false. Her company, manufacturers of Ruut Extra Premium Beer – a well-balanced, premium clear beer based on cassava has been in existence since 2012.
Speaking to Starr Business, Madam Rockson said the variety of cassava used by industries for production is high in starch and not fit for food.
She added that the aim of the industry to use Cassava is to help farmers move away from subsistent to plantation farming. “We know cassava is a seasonal crop, most of the time in the dry season it is difficult to uproot cassava and this year we have had challenges with rain, I think we are lucky to have a few in the past weeks but for a long time we have had challenges with rain, so it’s been difficult getting a lot of cassava even for production as well.
“So I think what industry is committed to doing is actually developing a sustainable supply chain, and I can tell you that we have worked with the ministry of food and agriculture, and we are not impacting what we eat.”
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Agriculture has blamed the shortage of the plant on transportation and infrastructural challenges. According to Limuna, “As at last year, the country produced 17 million metric tonnes of cassava, and we need just about 10 million tonnes to feed the Ghanaian populace.”