By Samuel Akumatey, GNA
Jasikan (V/R), Nov. 9, GNA -Mr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister for Food and Agriculture, has cut the sod for the construction of a $50million food processing plant in the Jasikan District of the Volta Region under the One District One Factory (1D1F) initiative.
The construction and machinery installation of the plant sited on a 50 acre plot would be executed with German engineering and expected to provide about 1,500 to 3,000 direct and indirect jobs.
The plant will have an output capacity of 400 tonnes daily and would benefit about 20,000 people when in full production.
The Minister said the start of work on the project showed government’s commitment to propelling the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme into the nation’s agricultural transformation tool.
He said aside heavy subsidies on some farm inputs, government was providing high yield varieties to outstrip demand and increase the income of farmers by ten folds.
Mr Akoto said government had a $220million facility currently on the negotiation table to be invested into farm machinery, and promised to help provide access roads and other needed facilities to grow the sector.
Mr Lawrence Aziale, District Chief Executive of Jasikan, said the District’s Buem Cocoa Initiative had targeted one million cocoa seedlings, and was hopeful that it would help provide the needed raw material flow to sustain processing factories.
He said the Assembly had developed business plans on its cocoa, cassava, tile production, and ecotourism potentials, adding that it had attracted scores of investors including Trust Works Consult, owners of the factory project.
Mr Aziale said the state of the Eastern Corridor Highway cost the District two major investment opportunities, and asked that the road be completed soon to open up the area.
He also said the District lacked an agricultural mechanization and equipment centre, as well as adequate extension officers to meet its farming needs.
Madam Josephine Dzotsi, Regional Trade and Industry Representative, said more factories were being directed to Districts in the Region and also said the Trade Ministry maintained its stimulus packages for viable but struggling factories.
Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister, said land need not become a stumbling block to the success of the 1D1F initiative and asked custodians to make them readily available for common good.
He also advised farmers to take advantage of the Planting For food and Job (PFJ) and provide more raw materials for industry.
Mr Kofi Obeng Ayirebi, Head of the project implementation team, said the construction of the plant was in three phases and would be completed over a five year period as a multiprocessor capable of handling a wide variety of farm produce.
He revealed that Trust Works Consult was working with international project financiers, who helped secure funding from banks for the project.
Mr Ayirebi said the plant would be aligned to the PFJ to ensure high capacity utilisation and ensure skills transfer among agro industry players.
The plant is also expected to host among others, a research and development centre, experimental farms, residences, and social facilities.