Sweet deal – $35 million sugar project built by Indian firm opens in Ghana

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A $35 million multi-dimensional sugar factory refurbished by Indian company Seftech, and financed by India Exim Bank, that will provide 7,300 jobs when fully operational and save the country $200 million in imports, has been inaugurated by Ghanaian President John Mahama.

The factory, with a crushing capacity of 1,200 tonnes a day, is located at Kommenda in the central region of Ghana.

Simultaneously, the Indian government has approved a $24.5 million facility to support the cultivation of sugarcane with irrigation over more than 2,000 acres as well as provide support for out-growers to ensure supplies to the factory.

The Kommenda sugar factory was established in the 1960s but was abandoned over the years. Two years ago, President Mahama cut the sod for work to begin on the re-construction of the factory with the assistance of the Indian government.  President Mahama said the factory will save the country about $200 million yearly from importing sugar for local consumption, adding that the plant will also produce three MW of power, of which it will use two MW and feed the remaining one MW to the national grid.

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In addition, the factory would produce molasses which are planned to be sold to beverage producers in the country for producing alcohol and ethanol. It is also envisaged that the by-products of the sugar processing would lead to the production of composed fertilizer.

Expressing his gratitude to the Indian government, the president commended the Indian construction team for completing the project ahead of schedule. He said the government was planning to establish similar projects in the Greater Accra, Volta and Northern Regions.

Pradeep Gupta, the first secretary in the Indian High Commission, said the factory’s construction was another example of the fruitful cooperation between the two countries, adding it would help provide the people of Kommenda with employment opportunities as well as reduce sugar imports. Trade and Industries Minister Ekwow Spio-Gabarh assured that everything possible would be done to ensure the factory’s sustainability and that investors, both local and international, should show interest in growing the business in the future. – IANS

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