Adnan Adams Mohammed
The Ghana Export Import (GEXIM) Bank has supported two processing factories under the One-District-One-Factory (1D1F) initiative using sweet potatoes and pineapples in creating a combined job opportunities of about 1000 so far.
The Casa De Ropa, which uses sweet potatoes cultivated locally to produce pizza, bread, chips, cakes and other pastries and started commercial production six weeks ago is currently employing 154 direct factory and farm workers and about 360 farmers engaged by the company to cultivate its raw material, while Ekumfi Fruits and Juice Factory is currently employing 65 factory workers and over 400 farm workers.
GEXIM has so far disbursed about GHC24.5 million to the two factories located in the Central region. Casa De Ropa, located at Bewadze in the Gomoa West District, has received about GHC14.5 million while Ekumfi Fruits and Juice Factory, located at Ekumfi Nanaben in the Ekumfi District, has also received GHC10.0 million to cover for the entire value chain process, from raw material cultivation, processing plant and factory establishment.
“We are proud of what we are seeing today which are as a result of our decision to support these factories owned and operated by 100 percent wholly Ghanaians”, Frank Dan Enyimayew, GEXIM 1D1F Manager rejoiced during a media tour of the two facilities last week.
“We are motivated to support local industries under the 1D1F initiative to help provide Ghanaians with the needed capacity and financial support to create jobs for the youth while creating industries that produces what the country needs to contribute to reducing our import bills”, Richard Anane, GEXIM Media Manager shared in an interview with Economy Times during a tour organized by PRINPAG and GEXIM to the facilities.
Ebenezer Obeng Baffour, CEO of Casa De Ropa in his briefing noted that, currently, the firm has cultivated almost 700acres of Orange-Flesh Sweet Potatoes used as a substitute for white mill flour and sugar which is the raw material for about 10 varieties of pastries. He added that, the company has an off taker agreement with Don Limon partners in Hamburg and Satori B.V in Holland to export some excess unprocessed sweet potatoes as more commercial and private farms have started cultivating the sweet potatoes for onward purchasing by the Casa De Ropa company.
“We hope that over 1000 jobs to be created through the cultivation of potato as well as processing into bread, chips, biscuits, cakes by 2021 would employ 80% women and 20 men workers”, Mr Baffour intimated.
In the case of Ekumfi Fruits and Juice Factory, which currently has two varieties of natural juice drinks, Eku Pineapples Juice and Eku PineGinja Juice and expecting to add Eku PineTropical soon, has projected to cultivate about 5000 acres of pineapple annually which will create about 2000 jobs by 2021.
“We are in talks with Central Citrus Processing Factory at Asebu Kwaman Kesse for supply of citrus juice which will be used to produce the Eku PineTropical”, Director of Operations, Federick Kobbyna Acquaah told the media team. He added that, “Our products are 100% natural fruit juice without any additive, preservative and added sugar, making Eku juices the best and only 100% pure juice.”
It is the expectation of GEXIM that, the projects will contribute to significant import substitution through the reduction in the volume of flour, sugar and fruit juices imported into the country.
GEXIM established by an Act of Parliament has a vision to become a strong financial institution that will be a key engine in the development of Ghana’s export trade, facilitate cross border trade and make Ghana a pillar in regional and continental trade. Also, among its objectives is to build Ghana’s capacity and competitiveness in the international market-place.
GEXIM is currently supporting 10 other commodity processing and manufacturing products such as; pharmaceuticals, cashew, poultry, cassava starch, oil palm, mango juice, cocoa butter, shea butter, garments and apparel and creative arts.