Employees of B-BOVID Limited, an agro-processing company in the oil palm industry at Prestea, in the Ahanta West District of the Western Region, have appealed to the government, Ministries of Food and Agriculture and Industries, to save the company from collapse.
They also called for an urgent intervention to help resolve management and redundancy issues, stressing that, salaries outstanding since October, this year, posed a difficult situation for workers.
Presently, B-BOVID has over 90 direct employees and worked with over 5,000 oil palm farmers.
Addressing a news conference in Takoradi on Friday, a spokesman for the workers, Gabriel Teye, regretted that B-BOVID, which had a high potential to meet the demand of smallholder farmers and double its employment capacity, had been closed down.
He added: “The factory which is worth millions of dollar is at the mercy of the weather as rusting has started eating up the metal component.”
“We are calling on the government and its agencies to look into the matter and re-open the company to protect our jobs and the huge foreign investment pumped into B-BOVID over the past three years.”
He explained that, due to a dispute between the founder of the company, Mr Issa Ouedraogo, now a minority shareholder and Moringa Investors, foreign investors and majority shareholder, BOVID was gradually sinking.
Mr Teye said the shareholders’ dispute emerged when the Board, in January 2021, removed Mr Issa Ouedraogo, a Ghanaian agribusiness entrepreneur, also the CEO of the B-BOVID, and reassigned him as the President of the company.
Mr Ouedraogo, he reported, who disagreed with the changes prevented the newly appointed CEO from taking his office and also refused him entry into the company.
Charles Adu Frimpong, an agric director of B-BOVID, also argued that, the redundancy was in ‘bad faith’ and rejected Ghana Agriculture Workers Union (GAWU)‘s position on the matter since there were no broader consultation with workers.
He pleaded that the company re-opens for workers to resume work, saying that “salaries had been frozen and families and our dependents are sitting at home suffering due to this stalemate.”
He believed that B- BOVID was solvent because the future of the palm oil industry was bright, and, therefore, could not be described as broke.
B-BOVID, Mr Frimpong noted, was critical in the promotion of Planting for Food and Jobs and Planting for Exports programmes.
“This year is the best year for the palm oil industry. The price for the commodity is now $1,350 per tonne and in 2020 it was averagely 700 dollars. Palm kernel oil is also $2,000 per tonne and prices continue to soar. The company is not broke or on the verge of collapse,” he added.
“There’s money, but, it’s locked up in the accounts. Government must take appropriate steps to investigate the matter. A vibrant public investor, Moringa had invested money into B-BOVID and this cannot go waste due to disputes.” he said.
Mr Frimpong revealed that B-BOVID supplied palm oil to Unilever Ghana, Wilmar Africa and some major companies in Nigeria, adding that, about 5,000 farmers were still eager to sell oil palm fruits to the company.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI