GB Foods, the company behind the popular Gino brand, has announced plans to invest US$70million into tomato production and processing in a major boost for tomato production in the country.
The project involves establishing two industrial farms, each spanning approximately 5000 hectares, accompanied by a factory to process fresh produce. The goal is to help the country achieve self-sufficiency in tomato production and become an export hub for not only the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) but also the entire African continent.
GB Foods’ Corporate Affairs Director, Dr. Teddy Ngu, said the project is expected to create about 5000 direct jobs, in addition to indirect jobs. “We are enthusiastic about making a significant impact in Ghana and beyond.”
He said the company is currently in the process of identifying suitable lands in Accra Plains, Afram Plains and Bui Plains – where soil, hydrology and topographic tests will be conducted to ensure the veracity of the land.
This is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Trade, and other agencies like Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA).
“Once the tests are completed, the team will move to the next phase, which involves conducting agronomic trials to determine the suitable seed for the full-scale project,” Dr. Ngu added.
The company expects to conduct the seed trials this year and receive the results by March or April of next year.
“If the land is identified this year, the full-scale project will commence in the 2024-25 season. The project will require factories that can process at least 1500 metric tonnes of fresh tomatoes per day, with an estimated combined processing capacity of 3000 metric tonnes of fresh tomatoes per day,” Dr. Ngu stated.
GB Foods Supply Chain Director for Africa, Chattopadhyay Rajib, said the factory boasts a total capacity of approximately 250,000 metric tonnes of tomatoes. Currently, the company produces around 350 tonnes per day and plans to invest US$2million each year in capital expenditure to expand its facility to meet consumer demand.
In all, he added that an estimated US$40million has been invested in the factory so far.
Meanwhile, the company plans to install a solar panel to power the factory to replace 30 percent of its energy requirements. The solar panel project has been approved and will cost approximately US$2million, he added.
This project is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2023.
“In terms of cost savings, it’s not an overnight process; but as we progressively cultivate and reach full capacity, we won’t need to import anymore. This will lead to improved production economics, cheaper rates, and a reduction in cost which we can pass on to consumers,” Mr. Rajib said.
The company already exports its products to economies within ECOWAS, with plans to expand to other African countries, such as Guinea Conakry and Rwanda. GB Foods aims to leverage the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement and the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme to manufacture and distribute its products across borders.
Dr. Teddy Ngu added that: “We are excited to work with the Ghanaian Government and trade officials to make this a reality. Our vision is for Ghana to become an export hub and a food basket for not only ECOWAS, but also for the entire African continent”.
The backward integration project, a form of vertical integration in which a company expands its role to fulfil tasks formerly completed by businesses up the supply chain, for tomato production in Ghana is a significant step toward achieving food security in the region.
The investment, therefore, demonstrates GB Foods’ commitment to supporting local farmers and promoting sustainable agriculture practices in the country.
The company has a presence in Europe and Africa, operating in approximately 30 European countries and almost 24 African countries.
Globally, its turnover is around €1.5billion, and in Africa, the company has independent businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, Algeria, Western Francophone and Central East Africa.
In Ghana, GB Foods’ business is almost worth GH¢1billion, with its tomato mix products being market leaders.
“Our factory and head office, combined, employ almost 1000 people, making us a reasonably large organisation in Ghana. We are ambitious to support Ghana by creating jobs, reducing the demand for scarce foreign exchange, and becoming an export hub for our products. Our brands are well-known across different parts of the country, including Gino rice, Ginomax seasoning tablet, and baked beans,” David Kofi Afflu, General Manager of GB Foods Ghana, said.
We’ll ensure there are enough funds for 2023/2024 cocoa purchasing season – COCOBOD
COCOBOD has assured that concrete steps have been taken to ensure it is able to secure enough funds to finance its annual cocoa purchases in the 2023/2024 crop season.
Against the backdrop of a reportage by Reuters that the firm had borrowed up to $200 million from cocoa traders to plug its funding gap, COCOBOD said it had adopted a two-prong financing strategy to ensure that it obtained the required funds for the purchasing season.
A statement from COCOBOD in response to the Reuters report indicated that it had had firm assurances from its bankers of making funds available in time for the purchasing season and that a “Cocoa syndicated Loan has been laid in Parliament for consideration and approval.”
Below is COCOBOD’s full statement.
FINANCING OF PURCHASES FOR 2023/24 CROP SEASON
There have been some recent publications in the news media in relation to funds for cocoa purchases for the 2023/24 Crop Season.
We wish to brief our stakeholders on this very sensitive national issue as follows:
COCOBOD planned a two-prong financing for the 2023/2024 Crop Season in an effort to diversify Its source of funding for the annual cocoa purchases.
The strategy was therefore, to use a prefinancing arrangement with the international buyers to raise an amount of US$400 million for purchases at the beginning of the Season in September 2023.
These initial funds were expected to be augmented by an additional US$800 million loan from a syndicate of lenders by the end of November 2023. After engagements with buyers for several weeks, the arrangement was however discontinued.
Thus, since the beginning of the Season, cocoa purchases have been financed with noncollateralized cocoa sales proceeds. COCOBOD is therefore still in the process of securing the syndicated loan for the 2023/24 Crop Season.
As a matter of fact, the Board has so far received firm response from our bankers in this regard, and the Cocoa syndicated Loan has been laid in Parliament for consideration and approval.
We wish to use this medium to assure our stakeholders that the necessary arrangements have been made to secure enough funding for cocoa purchases for the year under review.
ISSUED BY: PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
Ghana is a good place to do business – Bawumia tells Czech investors
Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia is actively seeking Czech investors for the country.
Dr. Bawumia emphasized that Ghana remains the best country in Africa for investment due to its stability, peace, and growth opportunities for businesses.
He made these remarks during his meeting with the Czech Prime Minister, Peter Fiala, at the Jubilee House in Accra.
“Ghana is an excellent place for doing business. We are the most peaceful country in West Africa and the second most peaceful country in Africa. It is crucial for anyone looking to invest in Africa to consider Ghana as the ideal destination for business.”
“I am confident that this will open up opportunities for our respective business sectors,” he stated.
Mahama’s ’24hr Economy’ project will revolutionize Ghana – Dafeamekpor
South Dayi Member of Parliament, Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor, has said that the ’24-hour Economy’ project conceived by the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Former President John Dramani Mahama will turn the economy around if implemented.
Mr Mahama proposed the ’24hr Economy ‘ project when he met with officials of the country’s mother workers union on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at the start of his engagement with key stakeholders in a quest to return to power.
Dubbed ‘Building Ghana Tour’, the interactions with the stakeholders is to apprise them of the policies the next NDC administration will implement to transform the economy.
At Tuesday’s engagement, he said “NDC was left alone as the solitary voice seeking to hold the government accountable and speaking up for the voiceless Ghanaian and we were often cast out as spoilt brats who were ranting just because we have lost power.
“Today, the chickens have come home to roost and we are all affected.”
Commenting on this in a tweet, Mr Dafeamekpor said “Some concrete Examples of John Mahama’s ‘24hr Economy’ Projects include Terminal 3 at Kotoka, Tema Port Container Terminal, New Ridge Hospital, Maritime Hospital, Tema, UGMC, Legon, Kejetia Market, Accra Data Centre, the TamaleTeaching Hospital. It’ll revolutionize the economy.”