Prioritise Komenda Sugar Factory

On Wednesday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo told a delegation of chiefs and elders from the Komenda Traditional Area and, for that matter, all Ghanaians that civil works currently going on at the Komenda Sugar Factory were expected to be completed next month for production of sugar to begin.

Interacting with the delegation at the Jubilee House in Accra, the President saida 20,000 acre of land had been secured at WassaFiase in the Western Region for the cultivation and supply of sugarcane to the plant, a critical raw material for the factory to come to life again.

It is curious to hear today that there are civil works going on at the Komenda Sugar Factory and that the plant is yet to come on stream to produce sugar to either stop or reduce the country’s sugar imports.

The Ghanaian Times seems to be at a loss regarding the state of the factory because in October 2016, the media reported that the government had rehabilitated the factory at $36.5 million.

Opening the factory, President John DramaniMahama made a statement that the factory was going to produce sugar to change the situation where every cube of sugar consumed in the country was imported.

When Mr Mahama lost power to Nana Akufo-Addo, it was the expectation of all Ghanaians that the new government was going to see to the production of sugar at the plant.

However, that was not going to be because there was no sustainable source of getting sugarcane to run the plant.

This was because the Indian government, which provided the money for the resuscitation of the factory, prevailed on the Mahama administration to get the factory ready and later apply for more funds from the Indian government to support the production of raw materials.

Upon taking power, the Akufo-Addo administration accepted to see to the revival of the factory but vehemently criticized the raw material arrangement that that approach was not proper for any such manufacturing concern to come out viable.

President Akufo-Addo then promised that the factory would be in operation in the first quarter of 2022.

Obviously, this is not going to be because there are only 34 days left for the first quarter to end and civil works are still going on at the factory.

However, the Ghanaian Times commends President Akufo-Addo for keeping to his promise of not abandoning the Komenda Sugar Factory.

Our only worry is that it seems the problem of the lack of sugarcane to feed the factory can repeat itself if any serious alternative arrangement is not done while the factory waits for the yet-to-be-cultivated WassaFiase sugar plantation to bear fruits.

Concerning the plantation, the government must not ignore the collaboration with the University of Cape Coast because its College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences has conducted a research whose finding has it that Ghana has the environment for mass production of the requisite sugarcane varieties to meet the needs of the Komenda Sugar Factory. 

The Komenda factory must succeed because apart from the direct and indirect jobs it will provide, it will help to open up the Komenda area and stop or reduce the country’s sugar imports and save the country some foreign exchange.

According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, Ghana spent US$158.39 Million during 2019 to import sugars and sugar confectionery.

Such a situation, for instance, could have been avoided if the Komenda had been worked from the time President Mahama attempted to revive it.

Maybe the COVID-19 outbreak came in to truncate the government’s efforts to make the sugar factory live again, hence the failure to see it running in the first quarter of this year.

Whatever the situation, let the Komenda Sugar Factory be one of the priority projects.

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