About 300 out grower farmers in Ekumfi have been registered to cultivate pineapples as raw materials to feed the Ekumfi Fruits & Juices factory.
The farmers who were drawn from Ekumfi and its environs cultivate various varieties of pineapple amongst which area the MD 2, which are grown mainly for export, the Smooth Cayenne and the Sugar Loaf.
The Fruits & Juices factory is designed to process 80 tons of fresh pineapple fruits per day.
The promoters for operational efficiency have established two nucleus farms at Gomoa Oguakrom and Gomoa Assin.
The Oguaakrom farm land area is more than 800 acres whilst at Assin, the land measurement is about 300 acres. Also around the factory premises lies another farm of 40 acres.
As part of efforts to help boost the production of pineapple in the area, the out grower farmers are also benefitting from modern agronomical practices especially with right planting methods and right fertilizer application procedures.
The 300 farmers receive a stipend of GH¢ 200.00 per month whist they wait for their pineapples to mature for harvesting.
This will affect pineapple prices because when the factory starts operations, pineapple prices will be stable and not buffeted by glut and scarcity prices of the past.
This information was gathered when the National Co-Coordinator of the 1D1F initiative, visited the factory facilities.
The team first visited Gomoa Oguakrom where 800 acre of pineapple farm is under cultivation.
Also in Gomoa Assin, 150 acres out of 300 acres of land had been cultivated.
It emerged during the visit that 75 acres of the plantation were ready for harvesting.
At Gomoa Abor, the team encountered some of the out growers who were busily working on their individual farm plots. On the average, a farmer has a farm size of about 5 acres.
Barely, 20 minutes after the team arrived on site, a Pick Up truck which belonged to the factory pulled up at the farm with a lady cashier of the company coming out with a note book and a box of cash to pay farmers’ stipend for the month.
The out- grower group joined in singing the unrehearsed but spontaneous chorus to express their satisfaction at the treatment they are receiving.
Touching on the progress of work so far, Mr. Daniel Adjei Kwarteng, the General Manger of the factory’ intimated that 65% of the factory building has been completed.
He also indicated that produce from the nucleus farms at Gomoa Oguaakrom, Gomoa Assin and the one around the factory site would be ready just in time for processing after the factory’s test run.
The site engineer who briefed the 1D1F team indicated that, all the ground works needed for the physical structure to take-off have been completed.
“The cutting of the top soil, filling and compacting of the area had been handled very professionally and to specifications. The next stage was for the prefabricated steel to be mounted,” he said.
He also hinted that the prefabricated materials had been outsourced to a Ghanaian company, Sivoco Steel Fabricators.
When that project is completed, the factory and offices would occupy a land size of 100×50 meters and the warehouse measures 30×24 meters. The factory offices and warehouse construction with all appropriate machinery and fittings are expected to be in place by November, 2018 for test run production in December, 2018.
The National Coordinator of the One District One Factory, Hon. Mrs. Gifty Ohene-Konadu could not hide her joy at the progress of work.
She congratulated the promoters and Exim Bank, the project financiers, for their visionary and commitments to ensure the completion of the factory on schedule.
When she learnt that the factory began the out-grower scheme with 5 communities but due to the momentum and enthusiasm of the farmers the number of communities had increased to 13, she prayed for many more entrepreneurs to come forward to be supported to set up agro-processing factories to change the livelihood and fortunes of out-growers country wide.
In her estimation with the active involvement of the local communities, the country’s potentials would be productively harnessed for rapid economic transformation.
Hon. Mrs. Ohene Konadu was optimistic that with the unique resource potential at the disposal of Ekumfi and its environs for the production of pineapples and other fruits, the area could dominate the supply of fruits and juices to the Ghanaian, Middle East and the European Union markets. She entreated all parties to adhere to prudent environmental protection practices for sustained production.
Ekumfi, a district in the Central Region of Ghana, was carved out of Mfantsiman Municipal in 2012 with its District capital as Essakyir.
The district and its environs are home to the largest concentration of pineapple production in the Region. Other regions that share similar comparative advantage for pineapple production in Ghana are Greater Accra, Volta, and Eastern Regions.
Despite decades of outstanding production of varieties of pineapples, the local farmers’ prayers to past governments for a processing facility in the area remained unanswered until August, 25th 2017 when His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the One District One Factory Initiative at Ekumfi Eyisam.
On that same day the President simultaneously cut the sod for the commencement of an ultra modern fruits and juices factory at Nanabeng, off the Accra-Cape Coast Highway, within the District, known as Ekumfi Fruits & Juices Factory.