Government’s flagship policy, ‘One District-One Factory’, took off last Friday at Ekumfi in the Mfantsiman District of the Central Region.
The choice of the Ekumfi Pineapple Processing Factory for the official sod-cutting establishes the clearest link government wants to bring between the One District-One Factor (1D1F) programme and the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative.
To date, the Technical Support Group for the programme has already reviewed over 330 business plans received for the 1D1F initiative.
When speaking at Ekumfi, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was convinced that, “The 1D1F policy will ensure an even spatial spread of industries. It will promote rapid industrialisation at the district level, driven by strong linkages to agriculture and other natural resources endowments, to create jobs and wealth.”
Touching on the pineapple factory, President Akufo-Addo said, “With a capacity to process and package about 80 tons of fruits per day, this factory is expected to process a total of about 25,600 tons of fruits per year. A total of 250 persons will be employed at the factory, with over 5,000 jobs direct and indirect, being created as a result.”
The Ekumfi Pineapple Processing Factory is the first factory to be constructed under the policy where 216 factories are expected to be built in the various districts throughout the country.
According to the President, 51 districts will start actual implementation of their enterprises by the end of the year, with the potential to generate about 80,000 direct or indirect jobs.
“Every district in our country abounds in raw materials, and it is the vision of government to create economic growth poles out of them. It is the only way we can deal effectively with the greatest threat to our future – widespread unemployment amongst our youth,” he noted.
Government, in the 2017 Budget, allocated an amount of $100 million as government contribution, either as equity or in kind support, for the establishment of the factories. On Friday, President Akufo-Addo indicated that an additional amount of $340 million has been leveraged from local financial institutions for the programme.
Government is placing emphasis on the factories project because “Unless we industrialise with the goal of adding significant value to our primary products, we cannot create the necessary numbers of high-paying jobs that will enhance the living standards of the mass of our people. Raw material producing economies do not create prosperity for the masses,” the President asserted.
Last week, General Manager of the factory, Daniel Kwarteng said about $5 million is expected to be invested into the project from the $2 billion Exim bank Chinese loan announced earlier by government.
It is expected that the company will pay back the loan in seven years. Chinese contractors as part of the package, will construct the facility on a 10 acre land.
The Ekumfi Fruit Processing Company factory when completed will process pineapples for the local and international market.
Currently, the company cultivates the fruit and seeks to expand its operations into processing.