The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has reiterated the government’s confidence in locally made consumable products.
He said with the needed support, those products will do better on the international market than the foreign products, given the quality behind their production.
He observed that what was needed was the development of a system that was reassuring to local farmers that would encourage them to do their best in the midst of the difficulties they faced.
Mr Amissah-Arthur said this when he paid a working visit to a fruit processing plant, Pinora Limited, at Asamankese in the Eastern Region yesterday.
The plant, which has a workforce of 300, was established in 2006 by international and local investors and is a free zones company that produces orange, pineapple, lime and cashew juice.
The Vice-President recalled that before touring the plant site, officials of the company had held discussions with him on some challenges impeding their operations and he had given an assurance that the government would help address their concerns.
Among the difficulties the plant faced, Mr Amissah-Arthur pointed out, were the land tenure system, inadequate research and data unavailability, lack of certified planting materials and disease and pest infestation.
He noted that Pinora had, since its inception, made a positive impact on the local economy, including generating employment opportunities in the area, and added that citrus farmers in the country had also benefited from the company by way of a ready market and prompt payment based on the delivery of fruits.
Mr Amissah-Arthur stated that Ghana had a huge potential for a lucrative citrus industry that would lead to well paid businesses for farmers resulting in poverty alleviation and other economic benefits.
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, said the ministry was now focusing on re-energising local industries, with emphasis on adding value to raw materials for export.
He deplored the current statistics which pointed to the fact that more than 80 per cent of fruit juices on the market were imported and stressed that the country was capable of producing fruit juices to equally match the foreign ones.
To boost the sector, he said, the government had put in place stimulus packages for the agro-processing industry with the view to increasing exports.
The Deputy Executive Secretary of the Ghana Free Zones Board, Ms Obuobia Darko-Opoku, pledged her outfit’s support to the agro-processing sector but appealed to the government to look into the challenge of the tenure system facing the industry to help attract more investors into that area.
She commended the management of Pinora Limited for its efforts, in the face of the difficulties.
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