Ayensu Starch Factory to transform rural economy with 5,000 jobs

The rejuvenated Ayensu Starch company is currently undergoing a trial run and is expected to start fully operating from January 2022.

The plant will produce 60 metric tonnes of food grade tapioca starch daily at full operational capacity and is expected to create at least 5,000 jobs.

Mr Evans Ayim, the director of the company, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), said resuscitation of the factory would help transform the rural economy, as around 25 million GHCs would be spent each year to buy cassava.

“We are now buying a ton of cassava at 350 GHC. If one supplies an acre worth of cassava, which is about 10 tonnes, then the supplier will earn 3,500 GHC in income.

In the rural community, this is important. If you can do this for 10 months, you are more than a breadwinner in many areas of work in the country, ”he said.

He explained that the plant needed 7,200 acres of improved cassava variety, which translates to 72,000 metric tons, to operate year round.

On a related note, Ayim said the company has set up a subcontracting program, which is currently recruiting and authorizing some 1,000 farmers from various districts and municipalities to feed the factory.

He said the aim was to offer farmers the opportunity to turn farming into a full-time job, adding that the response from farmers had been encouraging so far.

Ayensu Starch was commissioned around 2004 under former President John Agyekum Kufuor’s “President’s Special Initiative” (PSI) program to produce food grade tapioca starch at an initial capacity of 72 tonnes. metric per day, but it was closed in 2006 for lack of raw material, among other reasons.

She resumed work in 2008 with many other challenges until 2016, when the government entered into a public-private partnership and transferred 70% of the shares to Tiberias, the current leaders of the company.

Due to technical and mechanical issues that caused the business to operate at a loss, the business had to close again to make way for a full renovation in 2019 and was eventually completed in 2021 due to the COVID pandemic -19.

Mr Ayim said challenges such as uninterrupted power supply, a dysfunctional waste management system and inadequate water supply had all been resolved.

Other challenges, he admitted, however, were transportation, inadequate logistics and poor roads leading to the factory, which he said were being addressed.

“We signed up under the One District One Factory (1D1F) policy and we are lobbying the government to repair the roads. In fact, it was given for a contract and so that is what is being done, ”he said.

Emphasizing the importance of starch to the Ghanaian economy, the Director reiterated that the “invisible commodity” was a commercially viable business worth $ 30 billion globally.

He said the starch was used in many manufacturing industries such as textiles, paper, food and pharmaceuticals, adding that the factory reorganization would reduce imports and save Ghana foreign exchange. foreigners.

“If we can contribute from Africa and Ghana leads in that direction, I think we can easily tap this market and turn it into, maybe, a billion dollar industry. We are the pioneers and we want to show that it is commercially viable, ”he said.

In the meantime, Mr Ayim has hinted that the company is only focusing on the domestic market until it is able to expand operations and production to take advantage of the global economy, especially of the African Continental Free Trade Area.

About Keneth T. Graves

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