Techiman Processing Complex (TEPCO), an agro-processing company at Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region that was primarily established for tomato processing after years of delay, has finally started production.
The new development was partly cushioned by a GH˘200,000 financial support from the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) to the company. The Management of the company is also seeking domestic and foreign investor partnerships to facilitate full operation of the plant, Wil Aparloo Ofori, CEO-TEPCO has said.
“We are in fruitful negotiation with some investors from France and local interested parties. Should these deals go through, the partners will be investing in raw material cultivation,” he told the B&FT in an interview.
He added: “Another financial backbone from the Council for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (COTVET) Skills Development Fund (SDF) is also in the offing. These and many more interventions will enhance the raw material base to scale-up production”.
The processing plant is a cooperation product of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and the Italian government. The facility, which is among other things aimed at increasing tomato, mango and watermelon processing in order to reduce importation of processed products,was officially inaugurated in December 2012.
In 2013, the government of Ghana entered into an agreement with a private developer under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). The plant, with a daily production capacity of 40 tonnes, has since not been fully operational -- largely because of raw materials non-availability.
The CEO of TEPCO said the company can no longer rely on open-air cultivation for the needed quantity and quality of raw materials, particularly tomato for production, and has therefore opted for greenhouses as an alternative technology.
“Lack of raw materials has obviously cost most of the agro-processing companies in the country. We have realised that though greenhouse technology is relatively capital intensive, it is one of the surest ways to guarantee the required raw materials for agro-processing; hence the decision to embrace it,” he noted.
He appealed for government to factor-in the technology in its vegetable production programmes and projects. This, he stressed, will go a long way to produce abundant, quality vegetables to help resurrect all the defunct processing companies.
TEPCO is the second agro-processing company in the Brong Ahafo Region to drift into greenhouse technology for raw materials cultivation. The Wenchi Tomato Factory, a subsidiary of Agri Commercial Services Limited, initiated a similar move with a GH˘250,000 ten-tunnel project.
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