NEWS ARCHIVE 2006 - 09

WENCHI : Wenchi tomato factory to be reactivated

An Agronomist from South Africa, Mr Heinz Swat, has been engaged on con­tract by the Management of the Wenchi Tomato Cannery (TOMACAN) in the Brong Ahafo Region to assist in revamp­ing the company, with its new name Afrique Link.


Date Created : 11/17/2009 3:44:57 AM : Story Author : GhanaDistrict.Com

An Agronomist from South Africa, Mr Heinz Swat, has been engaged on con­tract by the Management of the Wenchi Tomato Cannery (TOMACAN) in the Brong Ahafo Region to assist in revamp­ing the company, with its new name Afrique Link.

Mr Swat assumed duty at the factory about three months ago on a three-year contract, and has given assurance that at the end of his contract, he would have changed the face of the company into a vibrant one.

"If I am not able to do so in three years, I will then have to stay on to see to it that all is well for everybody to see before I finally leave," he assured.

This came to light when the Parliamen­tary Select Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs paid a familiarisation visit to the factory as part of its one-day working visit to the Brong Ahafo Region.

The Wenchi tomato factory, which was under the defunct GIHOC, was divested in 1996 and started operation in 2003, but the place was shut down in 2007, due primarily to the inadequate supply of the raw materials by the farmers who had been provided with the necessary assistance to do so.

According to the South African agrono­mist, he was putting together a 10-year development plan that would ensure that the factory was actually transformed and operated without any hitches.

Mr Swat, who briefed the committee members, with Dr Ahined Yakubu Alhassan, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mion as its chairman, said as part of the programme, other experts would be brought in to develop high quality seedlings, which he said, had been the main driving challenge towards production of quality tomatoes to feed the factory.

According to the agronomist, he was currently concentrating on the nursing of tomato seeds, and that by the year 2011, the factory would be in full operation, expressing the hope that about 600 unemployed youth in the area would now be engaged.

He stated that there were quality machines lying idle at the factory, and that when it started full operations, about 100 metric tonnes of tomatoes would be needed daily to get the factor)’ running, adding "what is needed most is to encourage the farmers to produce more for the factory to run effectively".

Mr Swat said Ghana imported 180,000 metric tonnes of tomato from Burkina Faso last year, telling the committee members that, "We need to re-strategise and I can assure you that you will come back here again to see the place running".

The Regional Director of Food and Agriculture, Mr Emmanuel Krobea Asante, disclosed that the ministry and other devel­opment partners, including GTZ, assisted tomato farmers with inputs to increase their production, but said the farmers failed to deliver, hence the collapse of the factory in 2007.

The chairman of the Select Committee gave an assurance that members of his committee would do all they could to contribute meaningfully towards revamping the factory

Earlier, the committee inspected the former Food District Facility at Wenchi which MoFA had now taken over for storage, drying and cleaning of maize.

The Wenchi Municipal Director of MoFA, Mr Osei Adade told them that the modern warehouse could contain 30,000 mini bags of maize.

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