GB Foods to start industrial tomato farm
THE government, through its agencies, is helping GB Foods Ghana, a global firm that manufactures culinary products, to commence the cultivation of 14,000 acres of industrial tomato farm in the country.
The farm is expected to be established at two locations (7,000 acres each), with an integrated factory to process tomato concentrate for both the local and export market, leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Completion of the two projects would bring the company’s total investments to over $70 million, create 5,000 direct jobs and produce at least 3,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes per day to support the company’s processing factory.
The Director in-charge of Corporate Affairs at GB Foods Africa, Dr Teddy Ngu, in an interview with the media after the commissioning of a tomato canning line by GB Foods Ghana at Kpone near Tema, stated that the company intends to use Ghana as an export hub to reach the rest of Africa.
The modern tomato canning line built at the cost of $5 million is expected to expand production of Gino and Pomo range of products.
It is aimed at reducing the quantum of raw materials imported in the manufacturing of the company’s products, thereby offering more employment opportunities to Ghanaians.
Stage of industrial farm
Dr Ngu explained that the company sought to establish two industrial farms with an associated factory that would process the tomatoes into concentrate for both local and export markets.
“We are currently working with the government through the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to make the establishment of industrial farms possible,” he said.
Dr Ngu, who is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the agribusiness initiative of the company, stated that GB Foods was currently at the stage of sourcing land in Accra and Afram plains, as well as the Bui area, to start the industrial farm project.
He said the company was also working closely with MoFA, MoTI and other government agencies to conduct some tests, including soil, hydrology, topography to assess the veracity of the lands identified.
“When done, the next phase will be agronomic trials, followed by seed trials from this year, hoping for full-scale production to take off from the 2024/2025 season,” he said.
Cost of production
The Corporate Affairs Director stated that producing the raw materials locally would enable the company to reduce the cost of production drastically, as it currently sources the majority of its raw materials externally.
He explained that the key factor, with regard to the expansion drive, was to reduce cost of production and subsequently produce at cheaper rates to help reduce inflation in the country.
He added that the company sought to replicate what it’s been able to achieve in Nigeria and other parts of Europe in Ghana, after establishing the biggest factory with an accompanied industrial farm in those counties.
The Director in-charge of Supply Chain at GB Foods Africa, Chattopadhyay Rajid, said that with the right land for tomato production locally, the company’s drive to make the country an export hub would move into full action.
“With this expansion drive, we should be able to produce sufficient tomatoes locally to feed our factories and export for the African market,” he said.
According to him, the company, from its base in Ghana, has already started exporting to other parts of Africa, including Uganda and Guinea-Conakry.
Commits to Ghana
The General Manager of GB Foods Ghana, David Kofi Afflu, said apart from the tomato processing line, the new facility also has a curry processing line in Ghana.
“We believe in Ghana and remain committed to drive investment to grow our footprint in the county.