Local fruit processing firms may collapse if… – Blue Skies
Local fruit processing companies risk collapse due to inadequate raw material, if no conscious effort is made by government to rescue the situation.
According to the Director of Corporate Affairs at Fruit Processing Company, Blue Skies, Alistair Djimatey, several of these factories struggle to access quality raw material from farmers, and are unable to meet the country’s demands.
“We have the capacity to produce enough for the entire country, but the fact is that we don’t have the raw material to process and there are several factors that are militating against the production of the raw material. If you look at pineapple for instance, we use to have about 36 farms in this country; but currently we have just about six farms. And several government policies and land tenure system challenges have contributed to the collapse of some of these businesses.”
“It is very true that some [factories] might collapse because what is the essence of the factory when you don’t have raw material to produce?. The challenge has to do with availability of raw material. I can tell you that if nothing is done to improve pineapple production to ensure that we get the right quality and yield from our mango and even other fruits that we have in this country, most of these businesses are in danger of collapsing,” he added.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday, Mr. Djimatey called on government to intervene with its much hyped Planting for Foods and Jobs programme.
“It’s a very good idea; but I think that a lot more needs to be done than just hyping the planting for foods and jobs. I think it is something that has to do with feeding the local market. If we want to produce so that we can have some of these produce going into processing, we need to mechanize our agriculture, we need to cultivate more lands so that people will cultivate to feed industries. I believe that we need a better agriculture system that will produce food crops, feed industry so that we can create jobs and also support our local economy,” Mr. Djimatey added.
Ghana imports $150 million fruit juice yearly
The Blue Skies Director made the remark on the Citi Breakfast Show when he was contributing to a report by the Goldstreet Business newspaper which stated that, Ghana imports about US$150 million worth of fruit juice each year.
The report also indicated that, only US$ 40 million worth of juice representing 28 percent of total domestic demand, is produced in the country, while some local producing companies factories including Coastal Groove in the Central Region, Coco Bean, also in the Central Region, Sunripe in the Eastern Region, Premium Kingdom in the Volta Region, Pinora, Blue Skies and Fruity Land, are all said to be operating under 10 percent capacity.