The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), is working with other stakeholders on a project to help students appreciate the processes involved in adding value to cocoa and gold as a means of creating employment and earning more revenue for the state.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Ekow Spio-Garbrah, who disclosed this Friday, during a visit to some industries here said “the time had come for Ghana to process most or all of its produce into finished goods for local consumption or export”.
The visit which took the minister and his entourage made up of officials of the Association of Industries (AGI) and the Made in Ghana Committee to the Unilever factory, Cargill Ghana Limited and Gratis Foundation, was aimed at familiarising themselves with the conditions and the challenges the industries faced in their operations.
Mr. Spio-Garbrah said value added cocoa and gold held great potential to create multiple employments and boost foreign exchange earnings because most of the cocoa beans and gold were exported in the raw state, but the country lost several benefits.
Mr. Spio-Garbrah explained that under the project MOTI, Cargill Ghana Limited, AGI, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ghana Education Service would produce educational materials and a course on adding value to cocoa for junior high schools, senior high schools and the universities.
He said additionally MOTI, AGI, MOE, and GES would design educational materials and a course on mining and the processing of gold into jewelry.
According to him the project was also expected to “help students appreciate what we have and how to exploit the potentials to the fullest so that they do not complete schools to set up associations for unemployed graduates”.
Mr. Spio-Garbrah expressed worry that our educational system had not departed much from what the colonialist left us because they intended us to be a market for their finished products.
He was however hopeful that with insight into how those two produce of our country were processed into finished goods, it could be possible for some graduates to team up and establish new companies.
Mr. Spio-Garbrah encouraged the communities to patronise the equipments produced by Gratis Foundation to process farm produce and eliminate post harvest losses.
At the Gratis Foundation, the Chief Executive, Mr. Emmanuel Asiedu, conducted the minister and his entourage round the departments and an exhibition of newly manufactured equipment.
These included delivery bed, hospital screen, hospital bed, oil expeller, wooden fufu processor and fruit juice extractor.
The president of AGI, Mr. Asare-Adjei, urged the management of Gratis Foundation to link up with industry through the AGI platform ‘newsflash’ as most of the industries imported their equipment because they were not aware they could obtain such items locally.
He advised them to set up a marketing department to help promote their products.
The Communications Director of the Made-in-Ghana Committee, Mr. Francis Dadzie, also advised the Gratis Foundation to work with the committee to maximise its gains.
At Gargill Ghana Limited, the Site Manager, Michiel Jehee, in a presentation said the company was set up with $100 million in 1987 with capacity to process 65,000 metric tons of cocoa beans annually into cocoa liquor, butter and cocoa powder.
He said the company directly employs 425 and indirectly provides employment for 23,511.
It engages in the training of farmers, provides community support and farm development among other things.
The minister and his entourage were conducted round the plant.
From Godfred Blay Gibbah,Tema