Sunflower processing factory inaugurated at Tema

A factory to process Sunflower into bio-diesel was inaugurated at Tema with the call on the government and financial institutions to help expand the facility. The 217,000 US dollar facility could process four metric tonnes of sunflower grains daily while the bio-diesel processor could process 250 liter bio-diesel. The Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme of the United Nations Development Programme contributed 25,000 US dollars while the Tropical Agricultural Marketing and Consultancy Services ((TRAGRIMACS) Sunflower Ghana and Tema Cooperative Sunflower Producers Society paid the rest. Mr Issah Sulemana, Chief Executive Officer of TRAGRIMACS, made this known when he briefed the Ghana News Agency in Winneba on Friday about the economic viability of the project. He said the purpose for the establishment of the project was to produce bio-diesel from a local crop to mitigate climate change. He said the facility comprised of an oil mill, a bio-diesel processor and a mini-analytical chemistry laboratory. Mr Sulemana said as part of the project, a 100 hectare sunflower nucleus farm had been established at Gomoa Adzentem in the Central Region to produce feedstock to feed the factory. He said about 300 out-grower farmers in other parts of the country also produced Sunflower to feed the factory. Mr Sulemana said a sample of bio-diesel that was processed by the factory after the inauguration was used in a tractor as demonstration to prove the quality of the product, adding that the engine functioned very well. He appealed to farmers and the youth to go into sunflower production now that there was ready market for it. Mr Sulemana appealed to farmers to install some beehives on their farm and take advantage of the abundant bees that would be pollinating the Sunflower Plant to produce honey as additional income. According to him, honey was a potential for export because it had very good and ready market locally and on the world market. He said the Sunflower plant took three months to mature, and that despite its early problems in the 1990s, the project had been researched and repackaged to address those challenges and therefore urged the youth to go into its cultivation. "The by-product (residual cake) from the sunflower is good for poultry feed while the oil from it is the healthiest edible oil with all the 20 Amino Acid, very good for the body," Mr. Sulemana said. He said due to the high crude oil price on the world market, Ghana needed to find alternative source of cheap fuel and therefore encouraged the financial institutions to assist farmers to go into Sunflower production on a large scale.