Ghana champions development of food processing sector with establishment of new facilities

GHANA – The government of Ghana, through the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has cut sod for the commencement of the construction of a US$9.76 million National Aquaculture Centre and Commercial Farm project in the Greater Accra Region.

The project includes the establishment of an aquaculture production training centre and a commercial farm with facilities such as aquaculture indoor structures featuring modern aquaculture systems, including recirculating and greenhouse systems.

The project – being undertaken by Agritop Limited, an Israeli company based in Ghana, with supervision by ABA and Partners is set to be completed within 12 months.

Ayensu Starch factory to commence operations

Meanwhile, Ayensu Starch Company is currently undergoing a test run and is expected to commence full operations from January 2022.

The factory is set to produce 60 metric tonnes of food-grade tapioca starch at full operational capacity daily and it is expected to create, at least, 5,000 jobs.

Mr Evans Ayim, the Manager of the Company, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the resuscitation of the factory would help transform the rural economy as about GHC25 million (US$4m) would be spent annually to buy cassava.

He explained that the factory needs 7,200 acres of improved variety of cassava, which translates into 72,000 metric tonnes, to operate all year round.

In line with this, the company has rolled out an out-growers scheme, currently recruiting and empowering some 1,000 farmers from various districts and municipalities to feed the factory.

The Ayensu Starch Company was commissioned around 2004 under the “President’s Special Initiative’ (PSI) programme to produce food-grade tapioca starch at an initial capacity of 72 metric tonnes per day but it was shut down in 2006 for lack of raw material, among other reasons.

It resumed work in 2008 with many more challenges until 2016 when the government entered into a Public-Private Partnership and offloaded 70 per cent of shares to Tiberias–the current managers of the company.

Owing to technical and mechanical challenges which caused the company to run at a loss, the company had to shut down again to make way for total refurbishment in 2019, which was completed in 2021.

Canada's GMC Universal Inc invest in cassava production in Cameroon

In Cameroon, the Canadian group GMC Universal Inc, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), a public agro-industrial unit with vast plantations of bananas, oil palms and rubber trees in Southwestern Cameroon.

The agreement is aimed to boost development of the cassava value chain which has promising opportunities in both the local and international markets.

Under the initiative, GMC Universal seeks around 10,000 ha of land to build two processing factories which will be made available by CDC.

The project is a replica of an initiative that GMC has undertaken in Ghana. In 2018, it secured US$25 million in funding from India’s Cosmos International for the manufacture and installation of a cassava-based starch processing plant in Nkwanta South, in the Volta region of Ghana.

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