This follows the preparation of a Cabinet memorandum, seeking to convert the Ada Songhor Salt project into a limited liability company.
President John Mahama, who announced this on Saturday at the climax of the ‘Asafotufiami’ festival of the chiefs and people of the Ada traditional area, said the move would clear remaining obstacles for the full utilisation of the resource.
He said it would also ensure availability of finance, technology, efficient management and land tenure security for the project.
President Mahama stressed that the proposed Ada Songhor Salt Company Limited, if established, would be the starting point for the accelerated development of the Ada area and the nation’s salt industry in particular.
‘Asafotufiami,’ a festival of the firing of musketry, is essentially a war festival celebrated annually in commemoration of the heroic achievements of the ancestors of the Ada traditional area, in the many ancient battles of survival and development.
The high point of the festival is the oath swearing by the Asafoatsenguame (sub-chiefs), at which they show obeisance to the overlord of the traditional area, by renewing their allegiance to him and the state.
As is the norm, the colourful ceremony, marked with a touch of pomp and pageantry, attracted sons and daughters of the soil from far and near, some ministers, parliamentarians, and tourists.
President Mahama said that the preparation and presentation of a Cabinet memo on the Songhor project came in the wake of consultations with the traditional authorities and other stakeholders on the best way forward.
He was, however, not happy with the current situation where most of the salt producers in the country operated in a small uncoordinated manner, which did not allow the country to take full advantage of the resource.
To optimize national production, he said there was the need to employ large scale salt production methods, using modern technology, which required appreciable capital investment to produce salt at globally competitive levels.
President Mahama also dwelt on the area’s huge tourism potential and urged the traditional council and the district assembly to fashion out a strategic plan towards exploiting the tourism potential of the district.
Any such strategic plan, should also focus on easing the acquisition of land by investors devoid of the usual litigation that characterizes land acquisition.
To facilitate tourism in Ada, President Mahama hinted that work was about commencing on the 22-kilometre Kasseh-Ada Foah road at a cost of GH¢27 million.
He explained that the project’s delay was occasioned by the movement of heavy boulders and rocks along the road to the Ada Sea Defence Project, something he said could have destroyed the project by the time it was completed.
President Mahama reiterated government’s commitment to a master plan, aimed at tapping the huge aquiculture potential in Ada and other coastal communities through the promotion of out-grower nucleus shrimp farming and fish production.
Its objective is to augment domestic fish production, increase fish export and reduce the importation of fish and fish products in the medium to long term.
He announced that, in collaboration with the private sector, a study on the proposed fishermen life insurance scheme had been concluded, adding that a pilot scheme was set to commence in 20 coastal and 10 in-land fishing communities.
These communities include Kpong, Ada, Axim, Dixcove and Elmina.
Mr. Mahama pledged to extend electricity to areas in Ada without power supply, disclosing that a project had started to connect 1,500 communities including areas in Ada, to electricity.
He assured that the problem of aquatic weed bedeviling Ada would be addressed, and said the Environmental Protection Agency and the Volta River Authority had been tasked to remove the weeds.
He noted that many festivals across the country were celebrated to coincide with the season of harvesting, after communities had gone through months of hard work and had produce food from their farms necessary for their survival.
“We should also use the celebration of festivals to reflect deeply on the apparent stagnation of agricultural productivity in our communities,” he said, noting that rural-urban migration, degradation of the environment and its agricultural pattern, were partly blamable.
President Mahama stressed on the viability of agriculture as a business and said the sector ministry was ready to assist interested youth with extension services and other packages.
He, therefore, urged the youth to form farming cooperatives and take advantage of the opportunities government was making available.
Nene Abram Kabu Akuaku III, Paramount Chief of the Ada Traditional Area, stressed the need to implement the master plan for the development of the Songhor lagoon.
“If the project cannot be implemented through the government, then I would like to appeal to government to release the lagoon back to us so that investors can come directly through the Traditional Council,” he said.
Nene Akuaku said the Volta Basin was now full of aquatic weeds and if action was not taken, it would not be long before the tributaries dried up.
“The Angor river, a major tributary which spans Ada and Agave in the Volta Region, is already drying up,” he said.
From Samuel Nuamah & Dzifa Emma Tetteh, Ada.