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Boost For Northern Star Tomato Company

2006-06-01 13:08:13
This article has been read 945 times.

Northern Star Tomato Company, formerly Pwalugu Tomato Factory, in the Upper East Region, which is currently undergoing massive rehabilitation, has received a major boost with the expression of interest by tomato farmers in Burkina Faso to supply the company with their produce when the processing of tomato commences at the factory in July this year.

The offer from Burkina Faso will add to tomatoes which will be supplied by farmers in the Volta Basin, the rest of Upper East, especially Tono and Vea, both irrigation dams, to ensure all-year round processing and to meet the demands of the market.

The Upper East Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr G. A. Roy Ayariga, made this known when the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, paid a working visit to the factory site and interacted with investors and workers who were engaged in rehabilitating the company to transform the defunct factory into a modern one.

About $4 million is being applied to revive the factory, which will employ thousands of people, both directly and indirectly, in the new company.

The company became defunct in 1989 after it had been placed on the divestiture list on the grounds that it was a non- performing state enterprise.

The collapse of the factory as well as the then Zuarungu Meat Factory and the cotton industry in the Upper East Region, culminated in more than 5,000 job losses and created problems for the local economy.

The erratic rainfall pattern in the region which does not support serious farming activities and the lack of alternative sources of livelihood contributed in worsening the woes of the inhabitants, with their spiral effect on the national economy.

Mr Ayariga said the revival of the company would help to rejuvenate agricultural activities in the region, reduce poverty and assist in wealth creation.

He indicated that local farmers would be grouped into three in the supply of tomatoes to the factory on a regular basis.

These include those engaged in an outgrower scheme (contract farmers), block farming (direct cultivation by the investor) and direct purchase from non-contract farmers.

The Regional Director of Food and Agriculture said 500 metric tonnes of tomatoes would be supplied per day to the factory.

He explained that landowners within the local communities, district assemblies and interested firms were expected to buy shares in the factory, with the government as a facilitator.

The Vice-President described the rehabilitation exercise and the transformation of the company as “a dream realised".

He said the revamping of the factory would help change the lifestyle of the people for the better and improve upon the rural economy.

Alhaji Mahama said the Kufuor administration had been going round the world to encourage investors to help turn the Ghanaian economy round and that the Pwalugu Tomato Factory was a major target.

He expressed the confidence that the contractors and investors working on it would do a good job.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Boniface Gambila, criticised the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government's divestiture policy for killing several state institutions including the meat and tomato factories in the region.

source: graphic

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