Effect of dams spillage: Golden Exotics loses €500,000

Golden Exotics Limited (GEL), a commercial farm entity, is estimated to have lost over €500,000 in one of the most telling impacts of the spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong dams.

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The losses include tangible assets and farm produce ready for harvesting for export until the flood came in.

Golden Exotics is a freezone enterprise that cultivates over 2,000 hectares of banana, and has one of the biggest organic banana farms in the world, employing about 4,000 permanent workers on its plantation.

The Corporate Affairs and Administrative Manager of the company, Mark Achel, told the Daily Graphic that the spillage had truncated the production processes of the company.

The company is Ghana’s leading producer of banana, and exports over 90 per cent of the fruit produced in the country.

Listing the devastating effects of the spillage, Mr Achel said about 40 acres of the farm had been submerged and workers could not access the fruits.

Apart from portions of the farm totally submerged, he said the floods had destroyed infrastructure such as electrical installations, dykes and culverts at their pumping and packing stations.

Also, the farm road network, which the company said it built at huge cost, had also been destroyed, while some of the company’s workers were unable to access their villages such as Alabonuo and its environs.

Fear

Mr Achel explained that October was normally the peak periods for harvesting in the farm, with the farm harvesting more than 2,000 tonnes of fruit per week.

Already, he said, the farm had lost over 200 tonnes of banana last week “and waters are still rising and lapping at the entrance to our pack houses.

How many more hundreds or thousands of tonnes will be lost with water still being spilled in the coming weeks?”

He said the water level, which during the rainy seasons rose to a maximum of five metres, was currently at 8.5 metres and with the VRA still spilling, there was no end in sight. 

What should have been done

Mr Achel said adequate preparation could have been put in place to avoid the devastating effects of the floods on farms along the Volta River if farmers had received adequate information on especially, the volumes of water to be spilled.

“Apart from informing the public of the spillage, the volumes were not made known to us so we could plan,” he said.

He said the Volta River Authority did not engage farmers in the area while communication to the public failed to indicate clearly that “this event would be much more significant than usual for efforts to be made to reduce the impact of the losses.”

After 72 hours of the spillage, he said the farm had lost everything “we need to cut down the plants and replant and that’s so huge a cost to bear.

The main challenge facing the company now, he said, was how to “come by huge pumps to expel the water from the fields”.

To him “farms like Golden Exotics are going to have huge losses, 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.”

Indeed, the spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong dams have caused devastation on farms in the communities along the Volta River and surrounding areas.

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Over 30 communities have been severely affected by the dam spillage, resulting in submerged houses, disrupted electricity supply, and critical state of humanitarian crisis.

Majority of farmers the Daily Graphic found during a visit to the area were located around Asutsuare, Akuse, Torgome and their neighbourhoods.

These communities have had to bear with the total flooding of their farmlands due to the spillage of water from the hydro dams.

The most affected farmers are commercial fish, rice, mango and banana farms located along the Volta River, with most of the farms and roads leading to the affected farms submerged in water.

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The Member of Parliament (MP) for the Central Tongu Constituency, Alexander Roosevelt, has described the situation in his constituency where many residents have been displaced as precarious.

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