The facility is to produce on a pilot basis, herbal extracts for export and upgrade the traditional rudimentary method of preparing herbal products for both the domestic and international markets.
The GH¢170,000 plant was developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Institute of Industrial Research (CSIR-IIR) in collaboration with Bioresources International Ghana Limited, with funding from the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF).
Dr. Beatrice Mensah, Principal Research Scientist at CSIR-IIR, said the objective of setting up the extractive plant in the country is to develop the appropriate technology and its transfer, to enhance the export value of herbal products and medicinal plants which hitherto were exported in bulk as primary raw materials.
She noted that, there is a huge potential for export trade in the country’s medicinal plants as they are known to be the precursors of modern pharmaceutical drugs.
According to her, most Ghanaians, especially, those in the rural areas, depend on plant medicine for their primary health care, stressing that globally, people’s preference for natural products is increasing due to challenges associated with the side effects of synthetic products.
Dr. Mensah said that the country’s flora, abounds with plant species that could be exploited for their nutritional and therapeutic properties.
She said the CSIR-IIR has built the needed capacity in botanical extraction technology, and is in a position to offer technical assistance to private entrepreneurs willing to venture into the botanical extractive industry which could create jobs for people.
The Acting Director for CSIR-IIR, Mr. Herbert A. Obiri, disclosed that hitherto botanicals such as Griffonia seeds, were exported in raw form from the country to offshore facilities for extraction due to lack of local technological capacity and knowhow for value addition.
He said the successful demonstration of the pilot–scale plant would mark a critical stepping stone towards the commercial-scale extraction of botanicals in the country.
He said CSIR-IIR is dedicated to the development of technologies for products and processes of interest to local industries.
Dr. William Owusu Oduro, Public Relations Officer of CSIR-IIR, expressed gratitude to EDAIF and Bioresources International Ghana Ltd for assisting the institute to establish the first botanical extraction plant in the country.
By Joseph Edu Archison