GHANA – The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has inaugurated an ultra-modern maize processing factory at Nsuta-Kwagye in the Sekyere-Central District of the Ashanti Region, a project executed under the ‘One District, One Factory’ initiative.
The GH¢6.7 million (US$500,000) factory has the capacity to process four to five tonnes of dry maize, and five tonnes of maize grits per day.
Construction of the facility commenced in January 2020, completed and handed over in June, 2022, and fitted with state-of-the-art processing equipment, including a maize drying plant and a grit milling machine.
It has a standby generator and a mechanised borehole to supply the factory with water, a warehouse, fully furnished office accommodation for staff, conference room, laboratory, and a canteen for workers.
The Sekyere Maize Processing Factory is expected to directly employ some 118 workers including management professionals, factory floor workers and plantation management personnel, who would work on nucleus maize farms.
Additionally, more than 600 farmers from the Sekyere Central Union of Maize Producers Associations, the mother association of all maize farmer-based organisations in the district, would be directly engaged as contract suppliers of maize to the factory.
To establish the facility, the government sought funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to introduce this new concept of establishing common user facilities in five districts where farmers engaged in the same commodity value-chains but lacked facilities to process their produce.
To this end the maize processing facility is 70% owned by Sekyere Central Union of Maize Producers Associations, 20% by Ministry of Trade and Industry; and 10% by Traditional Council.
The concept was conceived in 2017, following a policy direction by the Ministry to realign the Rural Enterprises Programme to be consistent with the Government’s Industrial Transformation Agenda.
Ghana seeks to stream grain sector with establishment of new authority
In other related news, the Government of Ghana is pursuing the creation of a Grains Development Authority (GDA) to further the development and regulation of the market for domestically produced grains and legumes.
This proposed public institution is expected to be the panacea for the various identified bottlenecks associated with domestic grain and legume production, marketing, and trade.
These bottlenecks include annual food price fluctuations in the country, an ineffective and inefficient buffer stock system, the uncontrolled activities of foreign traders (grain aggregators from neighboring countries), and the unregulated export of grain and soybean.
According to the Minister of Food and Agriculture, the GDA, expected to be publicly funded at inception, will contribute significantly to complement the achievements being realized under the government’s flagship agricultural program – Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), introduced in 2017.
The GDA will replace two existing government-owned and controlled institutions, namely the Grains and Legumes Development Board (GLDB) and the National Food Buffer Stock Company Limited (NAFCO).
In effect, it will take over the operations of these two institutions when eventually established.
GLDB was set up in the 1970s with the mission to produce and distribute good quality foundation seeds of cereals, legumes, and vegetables as well as vegetatively propagated planting materials of cassava, plantain, yam, and citrus seedlings.
In addition, the board is to make available processing and storage facilities to registered seed growers and other farmers.
Meanwhile, NAFCO was incorporated in 2010 to undertake purchase of freshly harvested corn, paddy rice and soybeans from farmers, and then preserves, sells, and distributes these foodstuffs to state institutions.
It is also in charge of the government’s Emergency Food Program.