National Sugar Consumption To Hit 800, 000 Metric Tonnes - Spio

Sugar consumption in Ghana is expected to exceed 870,000 metric tonnes annually by 2030, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Minister of Trade and Industry (MoTI) has said.

The current consumption stands at 257,000 metric tonnes, he said.

Addressing a consultative forum on the National Sugar Policy at Elmina in Central Region, he stated that this was one of the reasons the Government was working fervently to revamp the sugar industry.

The forum, organised by the MoTI was to create a platform for the various stakeholders in the Region to familiarise themselves with the draft Sugar Policy and make input towards its final approval and implementation.

The document, prepared by the Ministry, seeks to coordinate and regulate the relationship between different stakeholders such as growers and millers and to ensure investors of the State's commitment to provide the necessary infrastructure such as feeder road, and access to water and electricity.

It would also provide the enabling infrastructural and institutional environment for a globally competitive private sugar industry, help reduce foreign exchange expenditure on imported sugar and contribute to rural industrial development.

The policy is built on eight strategic pillars comprising: the Provision of Land; Infrastructure Development; Human Resource Development; Processing and Manufacturing; and Research and Development.

Others are Financing and Tax Framework, Institutional Capacity Development and a Legal Regularly Framework.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah stated that sugar was the nation’s fourth largest food import after rice, fish and poultry and the eight most valuable import.

However, domestic production was zero, he stated.

Commercial production of sugar in the country started in Asutsuare in 1965 and Komenda and 1967, respectively, but halted by the end of 1981 due to various reasons, some of which the Minister said were poor management and inadequate capital investment.

He said the challenges of the Komenda Sugar Factory, which was being reconstructed, were the availability of water, irrigation facilities and access to raw land to produce enough sugar cane to feed the factory.

However, he said, a Committee made up of various stakeholders had been constituted to ensure that irrigable lands were acquired to ensure that by the completion of the factory next year, there would be enough sugarcane to feed it.

Dr. Spio-Garbrah indicated about six investor groups and potential investors from Mauritius, India, Brazil, United Kingdom and South African had shown interest in the sugar industry

The Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr. Dawarnoba Baeka, reiterated the Government’s determination to revamp the sugar industry and make the country an exporter.

He underscored the important role a national policy would help achieve this.