Government to collaborate with local industries-VEEP

The Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur Wednesday said government would collaborate with the private sector to establish industries to produce goods for local consumption. He said it would also help provide jobs for the youth and cut down on the countryís importation of goods that could be produced locally. The Vice President said this when he paid a working visit to Pinora Limited, a fruits processing company at Asamankese in the Eastern Region. The visit forms part of the government's efforts at motivating local industries to explore avenues and opportunities to expand their production. He said it was for that reason that the government is implementing a number of programmes and projects to promote entrepreneurship. The Vice President commended the company for employing over 200 people and also providing ready market for the products of more than 10,000 farmers in the region. The Acting Deputy Executive Secretary of the Ghana Free Zone, Ms Obuobia Darko-Opoku said the company was licensed as a free zone enterprise on 8th November, 2005, to process fruits for export and since then the company had invested over 13 million dollars into the Ghanaian economy. She said as a result of the investment, the company had exported organic concentrated pineapple and orange fruit juice worth over 20 million dollars to countries such as the Netherlands and Germany. She said the setting up of the company had added value to the fruits produced by the farmers in the area, which hitherto were getting rotten and wasting away. Ms Obuobia said a working visit to some of the free zone enterprises revealed that, one major challenge facing some of them was land acquisition and therefore appealed to government to look into the land tenure system of the country. The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industries, Nii Lantey Vanderpuje said one major aim of the Ministry was to ensure that value is added to raw materials produced in Ghana. He said, it was unfortunate that close to 80 per cent of all fruit juices consumed in the country are imported hence the attempt by the ministry to support local industries to stand on their feet. The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Julius Debrah, said the region had unveiled a three-fold blueprint that would transform the region into a hub of small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) in the various districts. He said under the blueprint, which is the initiative of the 22 districts in the region, every district would be required to develop agriculture, agro-processing and tourism, taking into consideration the area of comparative advantage. The initiative would be based on promotion of SMEs, which would absorb the large army of the regionís unemployed youth to generate income for their livelihood and that of their dependants and subsequently reduce poverty in the area. The only Ghanaian shareholder of the company, Mr Kwaku Bediako, said the company was established in 2006 with a daily production capacity of 400 metric tonnes of citrus. He said the company is the largest processing juice plant in West Africa with a workforce of more than 200 and use modern production and laboratory equipment to meet international standards. He said the company had established a training school where farmers are giving training on modern farming techniques, and said soon, the company would add the production of mangoes juice to its products.