Sugar cane farmers could be engaged in the running of the Komenda Sugar factory in the Central Region as part of government’s plan for the factory, Minister Nominee for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyerematen has said.
Government is looking at involving farmers in the development of a sugar cane plantation and giving them shares in the processing facility, Mr. Kyerematen indicated to Parliament’s Appointments Committee.
He also explained that government’s general plan for the $35 million Komenda Sugar factory is anchored on engaging the private sector, adding that such processes have been initiated.
“I think that the right thing to do is to bring in private sector participation. My understanding is that a process has been initiated. I intend to review that process and have it completed,” Mr. Kyerematen noted.
The Trade Minister nominee also spoke to concerns over the absence of a plantation to provide raw materials to feed the factory which is expected to produce about 1,250 tonnes of sugar each day.
“The defect that has been occasioned by not having a plantation developed to precede the establishment of the factory is being cured by a loan that has been approved by Parliament, $24 million, to establish a plantation to support the factory.”
“Hopefully government would also bring in private sector participation in the plantation development and more importantly to involve the farmers and make sure that they are given part of the shareholding in both the processing facility and the plantation development,” Mr. Kyerematen stated to the committee.
Reducing sugar import bill
Government is also looking to significantly reduce Ghana’s sugar import bill given the right level of financing and conducive agronomy, according to Mr. Kyerematen.
Ghana is known to import about $300 million worth of sugar each year but with the coming on stream of the sugar factory at Komenda, the previous government expressed hope that it will reduce Ghana’s import bill on Sugar by more than 60%.
Mr. Kyerematen insisted that “Government ought to be interested in reducing our import bill for sugar. Producing sugar is not rocket science except that you need a combination of things, the right level of financing, the right agronomy to support the plantation development and so on and so forth.”
“I will support any move that will bring in additional investors to establish an additional sugar factory in Ghana so that by the end of the term of office of our government, we will probably have significantly reduced the import of government to the barest minimum,” he stated.
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana