A tomato paste manufacturing plant established by Conserveria Africana Ghana Limited, parent company of GINO and POMO Tomato Paste has been officially inaugurated by H.E. President Dramani Mahama.
The project started in 2012 with the aim of producing tomato paste locally in Ghana to curb importation of finished products and make Ghana an exporter to over 24 African countries where GINO and POMO are leading brands.
The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and employs innovative technology to produce high quality tomato paste products. The factory is also the first to introduce sachet packaging of tomato paste in Ghana.
In his address, President Mahama noted that the factory will play a key role in changing the economy from being over reliant on imports and generate foreign exchange as Ghana has a comparative advantage in producing tomato paste.
“Ghana’s import is at $1.5 billion annually and I’m happy we are taking measures here today to address tomato. I like the model that has been adopted by Conserveria Africana to set up the processing plant here while they import tomato concentrate from abroad,” he added.
President Mahama praised the company for their backward integration model which will ensure local sourcing of tomatoes for the factory when implemented and pledged the support of government due to the huge benefits to tomato growers and other allied services.
He also appealed to the investors to come to the aid of the Northern Star Tomato Factory which has been dormant for years.
“Government already owns a defunct tomato processing factory in the North at Pwalugu so I will encourage you to speak with the ministry of trade to look at the opportunity of a partnership to revive the factory and run it in the private sector to create jobs and serve the local market”.
According to the president, there have been pragmatic measures to reduce the amount of total imports and encourage local production.
He disclosed that rice has recorded a 60 % increase in production and a significant rise is expected in other sectors such as sugar, poultry and aquaculture due to government’s drive.
The Managing Director of Conserveria Africana Ghana Limited, Rajib Chattopadhyay stated that the processing plant has a capacity in excess of 25000 metric tonnes which accounts for 35% of the Ghanaian market for tomato paste.
Mr. Chattopadhyay was particular about capacity building and employment of locals and noted that the company has 300 Ghanaian employees. This is expected to double in the next two years as the company plans to invest an additional GHC 50 million to replace imports and save 30 million US dollars per annum.
Responding to questions on the sidelines about the effect of the current load shedding exercise and other challenges in the industry, Mr. Chattopadhyay affirmed his confidence in the Ghanaian economy.
He was optimistic of progress and stated that power issues would not affect the long term plan of the firm.
“We have seen this problem in other African countries and Ghana is better. Even though the power crisis is there, about 95% of the time when we are in operation we have sources of power,” he added.
Story by: David Apinga