Ghana Rubber Estate Limited (GREL) has inaugurated a weigh bridge at Abrem Agona in the Komenda Edina Eguafo Abirem (KEEA) Municipality in the Central Region.
The weigh bridge, valued at GH¢1,043,242.67 is to reduce the cost of transportation and improve the proximity of farmers who hitherto had to travel to Apimanim in the Ahanta West Municipality of the Western Region to weigh their rubber cup lumps.
“Until now, our rubber farmers in the Central Region were trekking several kilometers to deliver their produce to our processing factories. This came with its own burden, coupled with high transportation costs for the rubber farmers in this region hence, the need for the construction of this weigh bridge” Mr. Lionel Barre Managing Director of GREL, has said.
According to him, the weigh bridge brings to seven the number of rubber weigh bridges operated by GREL, in the Western and Central Regions. These are Assin Edubiase, in the Central Region and Apimanim, Tsibu, Awudua, Subri, and Allabokazo all in the Western Region. The weighbridges, are all calibrated, certified, and constantly regulated by the Ghana Standards Authority.
He added that this weighbridge will significantly improve the economic fortunes of the community and the municipality in diverse ways. “Food vendors will increase sales because farmers will patronize their wares on their way to and from weighing their rubber as well as those in the transport industry will also benefit”.
Mr. Barre mentioned that GREL and its partners, through the Robber Outgrower Plantation Project (ROPP) system have assisted over 8,000 farmers to plant 30,155ha in the Western, Central, and Eastern Regions of Ghana.
These rubber farmers he said now account for over 70% of raw rubber that are processed and the remaining 30% is produced from GREL’s own plantation at the two factories of GREL at Apimanim and Tsibu, both in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region.
“As the pioneers in the rubber industry, we will stand with you to ensure that you maximize the gains that this industry brings to you, your families, your communities, and the entire national economy” he said.
Mr. Simon Tetteh, Project Director of GREL, encouraged farmers to deliver their rubber cup lumps in volumes to GREL and avoid selling it to the side buyers who usually cheat them.
He urged the farmers and the community to release more lands for rubber plantation to grow in the area.
“It is our hope that the people of Abrem and its environs will take advantage of GREL’s presence and remain loyal by delivering diligently and say no to side sales and grow this weigh bridge to a treatment site and eventually to a factory”, he added.
Mr. Kofi Darko, Head of Agric Value Chain at the Agriculture Development Bank said the bank is committed to supporting rubber plantation grow and expanded and therefore encouraged the farmers to grow more rubbers.
He urged the farmers to change their attitude towards rubber cup clump side buyers.
Kofi Etrur, a 70-year-old rubber farmer who has been in the business for 10 years commended GREL for this initiative as transporting the rubber cup lumps to the Western Region for weighing was their major challenge” he said.