Acting Trade and Industry Minister, Hannah Tetteh, has relaunched the Ayensu starch factory, noting the restart of the facility is a firm demonstration that government is committed to industrialisation.
Madam Tetteh says although the factory was first established in the John Kufuor administration, the current government has ensured that the facility keeps running.
According to her, this rare move in Ghana’s political culture proves the current administration adequately appreciates the importance of industrialisation for socio-economic development.
She said, although there may be challenges with getting raw material for the factory, government will with the aid of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) manage the facility to solve that problem.
The Ayensu Starch Factory was set up in 2003 as an agro-processing business involved in the processing of cassava into food grade starch for local consumption and export.
The factory, located at Bawjiase in the Central Region, ceased operations in December 2011 due to operational and financial challenges. This has largely attributed to lack of raw materials and inadequate power supply to sustain production and meet supply targets.
The factory was established under the Presidential Special Initiative (PSI) on cassava to create a market for cassava growers, develop cassava into starch and allied products, and create job avenues for the youth.
It was also aimed at exporting starch to the international market and adding value to cassava. In 2006, the factory stopped operations due to technical difficulties and the inability of peasant farmers engaged by the company to supply sufficient cassava to production capacity. Ayensu resumed operations in 2010.
With the revamp of the factory, managers of the company hope to produce super high-grade cassava starch and other by-products to various industries.
Speaking at the relaunch of the factory, Hanna Tetteh said steps have been taken to curtail unavailability of the raw materials to feed the factory.
“We can purchase cassava within a radius of 50 kilometres and that is because within 50 kilometres the time that it will take to transport the cassava from the farm base to the factories will allow deterioration of the cassava or affect the quality of the starch,” she said.
She said the managers of the factory will expand its farms, and urged chiefs to assist the farm when they are called upon to provide lands for expansion.
She also urged collaboration between the factory and District Chief Executives within the Bawjiase area to ensure that farmers in other remote areas are able to reach the factory’s buyers.
The factory is expected to produce 22,000 metric tonnes of cassava starch per annum.