President commissions $13-million cocoa processing plant

BY: Donald Ato Dapatem
President Akufo-Addo interacting with Mr. Harold Poelma (2nd from left), President of Cargil Cocoa and Chocolate, at the commissioning of the plant in Tema. With them is Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
President Akufo-Addo interacting with Mr. Harold Poelma (2nd from left), President of Cargil Cocoa and Chocolate, at the commissioning of the plant in Tema. With them is Mr. Michael Okyere Baafi, a Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has commissioned a $13-million cocoa processing plant at the Tema Free Zones Enclave.

The installation of the plant, which formed part of Cargill Ghana Limited’s capacity expansion works, took 16 months to complete.

It will increase the plant’s grind capacity by 20 per cent to bolster its annual production from 75,000 to 90,000 tonnes to create more job opportunities.

This latest investment is a culmination of Cargill’s 13-year presence in Ghana, during which it has created employment for about 530 people.

Commendation

President Akufo-Addo commended Cargill for the expansion works, especially when industries across the globe were scaling down due to the prevalence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the completion of the project also underscored the importance of the private sector in the government’s industrial transformation agenda, an anchor to the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda.

He said over the past decade, Cargill’s contribution to the growth of the economy in terms of investment and exports had increased from $100 million in 2008 to some $113 million, describing the growth as encouraging.

He said the connection between a sound investment environment and a well-structured industrial policy sector was crucial for the growth of the economy.

“I am of the firm conviction that industrialisation and private sector development present great opportunities for the expansion of the economy for job creation,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo expressed delight at the fact that Ghana had increased the export of processed cocoa by some 31 per cent between 2016 and 2019, saying there was still room for improvement.

“The government will continue to offer incentives such as tax rebates, import duty exemptions and tax holidays for the importation of capital goods to boost the competitiveness of local manufacturing companies that are adding value to our local raw materials,” he said.

The President, therefore, urged the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities provided under the various marketing integration frameworks, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the EU-Ghana economic partnership agreement, the Ghana-UK trade partnership agreement and AGOA.

According to him, the integration frameworks were critical to businesses recovering from the adverse effects of the pandemic, among other benefits.

Largest processing plant

The Plant Manager of Cargill, Mr. Richard Adjei, said the plant was currently the biggest cocoa processing plant in the country which was being managed by Ghanaians.

“Our staff here are the reason we are where we are today; Cargill Ghana is an example of Ghanaian expertise and efficiency,” he added.

For his part, the Managing Director of Cargill Ghana, Mr. Aedo van der Weij, said the establishment of close partnerships with the government, agencies, technical partners and local community leaders had enabled the company to make a meaningful impact in the communities it operated.