Ekumfi — Preparatory works on two factories under the government's "One District, One Factory" (1D1F) initiative is about 90 per cent complete with full scale commercial production expected to start in December this year.
Casa De Ropa Company Limited and Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited both sited in the Gomoa West and Ekumfi districts respectively of the Central Region, currently have between 200 to 500 acres of its raw materials cultivated to commence production.
An inspection tour of both facilities by officials of Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) Ghana, major financiers of the 1D1F projects on Friday, found factory buildings and warehouses completed with work on necessary machinery for processing of products ongoing.
At Casa De Ropa which seeks to process orange fleshed sweet potato into products like biscuit, bread, pizza, chips among others, two central pivot irrigation systems alongside a sprinkler irrigation system were on site to ensure consistent irrigation of the 731 acre farmland.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Casa De Ropa, Ebenezer Obeng-Baffoe said though full production was yet to start, it had begun receiving orders to produce bread, chips and other pastries from potato for local consumption and export.
He disclosed that the construction of two dams on the farm for irrigational purposes had also been completed, stressing that the tubers which took 90 days to mature were not only viable for economic growth but also had health benefits.
"These potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which is very good for children and helps people who are diabetic and react negatively to artificial sugar. We do not add sugar to any of our products", Mr Obeng-Baffoe stated.
At the Ekumfi Fruits and Juices Limited which is the first under the 1D1F policy, Director of Operations, Frederick Kobbyna Acquaah stated "what is left to be done here is training and knowledge transfer and within the next six weeks, we should have our products ready on the market for Christmas."
He however appealed for assistance to acquire more farmlands to ensure the sustainability of the factory with the needed raw materials.
Chairman of the Credit and Investment Committee of the Board of Exim Bank, Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso I, who led the delegation expressed satisfaction with work done so far as progress of work was within schedule.
"We have a number of facilities approved by the board for the bank and we needed to follow up to see how they have been put to use and I must say I am highly impressed", he said.
According to Nana Dankawoso, not only does the coming on stream of the factories fulfil the bank's mandate to promote international trade, but also it "gives meaning to the President's vision to create jobs and ensure economic sufficiency."
The CEO of EximBank, Lawrence Agyensam, said close to 90 per cent of approved funds for 84 approved projects under the 1D1F policy had been disbursed by the bank.
"We believe this policy is the catalyst to make Ghana a major exporter through value addition and creation of jobs and we will not relent in ensuring proper accountability of all monies disbursed," he stated.
It is recalled that government promised during the 2016 election campaign, that it would build a factory in each of the country's districts under the 1D1F initiative.
On August 22, 2017, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the project with the promise to drive industrialisation across the country.