The Ghana Export and Import Bank (EXIMBANK) is to extend a $1 million loan facility to ASTEK Company Limited to revamp the fruits processing operations of the company at Nsawam in the Eastern Region.
The loan which was facilitated by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Nsawam-Adoagyiri, Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, will be used to procure fruits processing machines and other equipment to pave the way for the start of operations in September, 2019.
The resuscitation of the ASTEK company, which forms part of the One-district, One-factory policy, is to create jobs for the teeming youth at Nsawam and surrounding communities.
ASTEK, which began fruits processing work in 1982, shut down its operations in 2009 as a result of financial challenges.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh inspected the factory last Monday to see to the readiness of the company ahead of the release of the $1 million loan facility.
In his remarks, the Managing Director of ASTEK, Mr Albert Owusu, said during its peak period, ASTEK produced Refresh fruit juices and mineral water.
However, he said the company "ran into turbulence but maintained a skeleton staff."
Mr Owusu said ASTEK submitted a proposal to the Ghana EXIM Bank, and indicated that with the help of Mr Annoh-Dompreh, the proposal had been accepted and the agreement signed between EXIM Bank and ASTEK for the release of $1 million for the fruits processing project.
He said the company had also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with outgrower farmers in Nsawam-Adoagyiri and Akuapem South to ensure the regular supply of pineapples and oranges to the company.
Mr Owusu said the processed pineapple and orange juices and slices would be exported to the United States of America (USA), Spain, Central Europe and some African countries.
He said the company would be processing 50 tonnes of fruits daily at the initial stage.
He added that 50 workers would be employed immediately and indicated that the number of workers would be increased four folds if the operations gained momentum.
Responding, Mr Annoh-Dompreh said he made a pledge prior to the 2016 election that he would secure funding to revive ASTEK to restart its fruits processing work.
He added that after retaining the Nsawam-Adoagyiri seat, he made a strong point to the Ghana EXIM Bank that ASTEK had "the inherent capacity" to process fruits for exports.
Mr Annoh-Dompreh, who is the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Parliament, said the idea was to promote economic activity and create jobs for the youth in Nsawam and surrounding areas.
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