The University of Cape Coast (UCC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Park Agrotech Ghana Limited, to ensure the cultivation of enhanced sugarcane for full scale sugar production for the Komenda Sugar Factory in the Central Region.
The Vice Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Joseph Ghartey-Ampiah appended his signature on behalf of the university, while the Managing Director of Agrotech Ghana Limited, Lalit Mishra, signed for the company.
Mr Mishra said that the agreement was a start towards a brighter future and indicated that, the company would invest about $21 million into the factory for the four-year period.
He noted that, the deal with UCC was very crucial as the company required quality planting material to produce sugarcane to feed the factory.
Under the terms of the MoU, the university is expected to provide strategic technical and human resource support to produce sugarcane planting materials for the company and its out-grower to sustain sugarcane production and processing.
Additionally, UCC would provide land space to establish sugarcane field gene bank and conserve eight most relevant genetic resources of the crop in consultation with the company to serve as a source of explants for vitro propagation.
Park Agrotech Ghana Limited on the other hand, would provide infrastructure for the production of sugarcane planting material and breeding.
The company is also expected to provide funding for research, material and equipment in critical areas such as Biotechnology and Tissue culture, disease and pest control, soil fertility, agriculture engineering, food science among others.
It would also contribute in the establishment of a commercial Tissue Culture laboratory for the production of sugarcane plantlets.
In his remarks, the Head of Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the School of Biological Sciences, College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, Prof. Aaron Asare, explained that the UCC in 2015, had carried series of research on how the country could produce high yielding sugarcane planting material.
That, he noted, was to help address the huge feed-stock deficit associated with the Komenda Sugar Factory to enhance sustainability.
The university, he said, was determined and committed towards coming up with innovations in ensuring the running of the factory.
Prof. Asare, further said that, the full operations of the Komenda Sugar Factory was the concern of every Ghanaian and underscored the need for all to contribute in making the operations of the factory a reality.
“The revival of the factory would drastically reduce the importation of sugar and create indirect jobs for people in the sugar industry in the country,” he said.
He noted that the university’s collaboration with Park Agrotech would facilitate the process of ensuring that the factory was revamped with the availability of sustainable sugarcane.
For his part, the Vice Chancellor of UCC, Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah expressed optimism about the Komenda Sugar factory moving into full scale production with the measure being put in place.
Prof. Joseph Ghartey Ampiah (second from right) and Mr Lalit Mishra, Managing Director of Agrotech Ghana Limited (left) signing the MoU.
FROM DAVID O. YARBOI-TETTEH, CAPE COAST