The Canadian High Commissioner in Accra, Ms Heater Cameron, has cut the sod for the construction of an agro-processing factory at Kwaso in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality in the Ashanti Region.
The establishment of the factory feeds into two policies of the government: the Planting For Food and Jobs and One-District, One-Factory.
The project is expected to engage most of the youth in the locality and also provide a ready market to farmers in its operational area.
More than 2,300 smallholder cassava farmers would be engaged to produce about 42,000 tons of fresh cassava to feed the factory.
Known as Premium Foods Limited (PFL), the wholly owned Ghanaian processing company, is partnering the World Food Programme (WFP), in the implementation of its Enhanced Nutrition and Value Chains (ENVAC) project.
ENVAC is a $15 million project sponsored by the Global Affairs, formerly Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) of the Canadian government, and would run for five years (2016-2020).
It is aimed at eliminating hunger, malnutrition and stunted growth among children in the three regions of the north in particular, and the country at large.
Prior to the sod cutting the WFP launched the ENVAC at Adanpapa in the Bosomtwe District, where PFL currently has a factory.
Ms Cameron said under the project, PFL and other implementing partners would promote the production and distribution of ‘Super Cereals’ and ‘Super Cereals Plus’ for the Ghanaian market.
She said those products would contribute to the reduction of malnutrition in the country as “malnutrition still affects far too many Ghanaians, particularly in the country’s northern regions.”
According to the High Commissioner, the project was an indication that Ghana had the tools “it needs to meet its foods security and nutrition challenges.”
She said the ENVAC project would also enable Ghanaian farmers and processors to work together to produce nutritious food for the most vulnerable.
“It will link smallholder farmers to important processor markets such as PFL and help them improve on their incomes and business models,” Ms Cameron said.
The Managing Director (MD) of PFL, Mr Tom Gambrah, explained that cassava from the farmers would be dried in community-based factories located in eight districts in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo regions to give meaning to the one-district, one-factory policy.
He said the dried cassava would then be processed into high-quality cassava flour by the factory at Kwaso for sale at home and abroad.
According to him, by 2018, “PFL will have nine factories in nine districts.”
The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Carlos Ahenkorah, commended the company for taking the lead in the government’s job creation initiative and gave the assurance that more support would be offered the private sector to thrive.
He mentioned the Northern, Volta, Upper East, Upper West and Central regions as some of the regions that would benefit from the establishment of factories.
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