Ghana's largest banana exporter expands operations
Golden Exotics Limited (GEL) has launched its 20th anniversary with a commitment to expand its operations and contribute to the development of communities surrounding its plantations.
The company, which started with the planting of pineapples on a 700 hectare land, projects to hit a total banana plantation of 2,000 hectares by June this year.
It has plantations in Obom, near Ngleshi-Amanfrom in the Ga South Municipality; Kasunya, near Asutuare, in the Shai-Osudoku District, and Torgorme in the North Tongu District.
Over the years, the Managing Director of GEL, Benedict John Rich, speaking before launching the year long anniversary celebration in Accra, said the development of the company had been underpinned by its commitment to sustainable policies, including decent work, respect for human rights of its employees, health and safety, respect for the environment, responsible sourcing and best international practices.
"For us, it is not enough to do things, unless we are doing them properly," he said .
Since the company's inception, Mr Rich said it had undertaken its corporate social responsibility in the areas of education, health, economic wellbeing, among others, in the communities where it operated and intended to revisit such projects during the anniversary year.
In 2014, he said the company commenced the planting of organic bananas, and at an average of 100 hectares per year it could now boast 600 hectares which was currently one of the largest in the world, while its conventional farms kept expanding.
In the past two decades, Mr Rich said the company had embraced technologies ranging from the use of smart phone and bar code scanners in the field, to drones, in the fields of precision agriculture and traceability of its products in line with commitment to remain productive and competitive.
Recognising that there would be challenges with productivity and profitability being the major ones, he added that the world was also a more complicated place, with global pandemics, war, geopolitics and climate change affecting the environment, agriculture and trade as never before.
Following a dip in Ghana’s pineapple industry, he said Golden Exotics had been forced to diversify and was working on planting other crops.
The Vice president of Compagnie Fruitiere, Ghana, Olivier Chassang, said the shareholders were always making efforts in spite of challenges both in Ghana and internationally, to expand the business in Ghana.
On behalf of the shareholders of the company, he congratulated the management of GEL for their leadership and relentless efforts in exploring strategies for the sustainability of the company's business operations in Ghana.
After stating how the company started in 2003, the Sustainability Manager of GEL, George Kporye, whose papaya farm, Paradise Farms, which he had started with a sister and a friend was acquired by the shareholders of GEL, said the success and 20 years milestone had been chalked up through the collective efforts of management and workers with the support of the communities they worked in and customers.
Activities lined up to mark the 20 years anniversary celebration include financial literacy training sessions for employees of the company and residents in communities GEL operates in, gender specific activities, work site fun activities, health screening , radio sensitisation programme on women working in agribusiness and fun games to commemorate this year's May Day celebration.