The country’s largest-buyer of cocoa beans, Produce Buying Company (PBC), will officially open its sheanut processing plant in November this year to boost the sheanut sector, says the firm’s Deputy Managing Director in charge of Operations.
The US$10million plant will process sheanuts into shea-butter, shea oils and other derivatives for export.
The plant, located at Buipe, 68 miles (110 kilometres) from the Northern Region capital Tamale, will be operated by PBC Shea Limited, a subsidiary of PBC.
“Our plan is to purchase 40,000 tonnes of sheanut annually to feed the processing plant,” Mr. George Kwadwo Boateng told the Business and Financial Times in an interview. “We’re very optimistic of the good earnings that the company stands to gain from the investments.
“For now, we will export the butter to markets in Brazil; but we will look at other markets soon,” Mr. Boateng said.
He disclosed that the company is in talks with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation to develop ways to reduce the gestation period of shea trees to between 7 and 10 years from more than 40 years.
He noted that the company will adopt an aggressive marketing strategy to improve its market share to 43 percent by the 2012-13 cocoa crop season, and also increase secondary evacuation activities with the hope of hauling 50 percent of cocoa purchases. “We will continue to improve and provide well-maintained storage facilities, institute efficient and cost-effective evacuation and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our operations to minimise losses, among others,” he said.
He added: “Management shall monitor the various investment projects by the company to ensure that the desired results are achieved to expand the frontiers of our ICT programme.” PBC’s 3-year medium-term plan initiated in 2007 continues to see the company’s revenue increase at a phenomenal pace.
The company’s third-quarter revenue grew by 95 percent, from GH˘565,892,262.00 in 2010 to GH˘1,101,339,142.00 in 2011, due to bumper harvests of cocoa in the country. This month, PBC was adjudged the number-1 company in the latest Ghana Club 100 rankings for 2010, knocking off Toyota Ghana limited which held that position for 2009.
Mr. Boateng told B&FT that the company grabbed the number-1 position after putting in the necessary measures - adding: “If you look back at 2004/05 and 2005/06, those were the years PBC recorded huge losses. “This new management took office and we said we need to reverse that trend. We put in the necessary measures; we sounded it to the staff and we said this is the policy we want to follow.
"We communicated same to our financial institutions, to the staff and to our farmers; and today they all share in this glory, which means that hard work pays,” he said. “We shall continue to strive harder in pursuit of more laurels for the company and greater benefits for its shareholders.”
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