1D1F: Potato factory nears completion in Central Region
President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed overwhelming confidence in the benefits of the Potato Processing Factory at Gomoa Bewadze in the Gomoa West District of the Central Region.
According to him, the potato industry could be a great game changer if given the needed attention and resources.
Even though the factory is yet to be completed and commissioned, the company, Casa De Ropa, has started producing bread, chips, and other pastries from the potato variety, 'the Orange-fleshed sweet potato', for the consumption of the public.
Interacting with the CEO of Casa De Ropa, Ebenezer Obeng Baffoe, during his visit to the factory, the President was amazed at the enormous potentials and benefits that the potato has to offer the Ghanaian economy.
"This is really a game changer. This represents what I have been preaching about growing what we eat and eating what we grow. The government will offer all the support needed for the thriving of this burgeoning industry," the President said.
President Akufo-Addo tasted some of the chips, the bread and other products that have been made out of the Potato and remarked, "it is indeed good and I love the taste."
His entourage who had been held spell-bound at what they saw at the factory joined the President in the 'potato feast.'
The President said the government will continue to empower the Private sector to spearhead the provision of jobs and the production of food for the local economy.
"The idea about the One District, One Factory, has been manifested here at Casa De Ropa; the Provision of jobs and the production of food for the consumption of the people. Government is on course to change the situation of the Ghanaian through this," he said.
CEO of the Casa De Ropa, Potato processing factory, Ebenezer Obeng Baffoe, told the President, how the project that is yet to be completed is changing the lives of people in the Gomoa area.
"The factory would be completed by the end of this year. We are not waiting for the factory building to be completed before we start a business. Our raw materials are in abundance here. We have cultivated close to 200 acres of potato. We have over 800 acres of land that we are still cultivating," he said.
Mr Obeng Baffoe intimated that the potato processing would soon assume a revolution because of the health, economic and other benefits that it brings.
"It has Vitamin A that is very good for children and helps people who react negatively to artificial sugar. We do not add sugar to any of our products. The economic potentials are overwhelming," Mr Baffoe.
The Technology and Innovation manager of the factory, Joseph Okyere, said the company is training and mentoring farmers to produce the potato variety. This, he believes would have significant economic benefits for them and their families.
"The factory will provide 1004 direct jobs but currently we have employed over 150 workers. the indirect jobs it will provide is unimaginable"
"The government purchasing power will be explored to generate an additional market. The School Feeding Program from primary school to secondary school, the prisons, hospitals and other institutions of the like where imported food items are served can be complemented by the numerous recipes from the sweet potatoes. The export market will be keenly looked into for both the fresh roots and the processed products," he explained
The Technical Manager of the company, Tony Dawson-Amoah explained the two dams at the farms will help the company produce potato all year round.
"We have outgrown schemes that are complementing the main farms that are here. We are in touch with other Districts to get lands to put under cultivation," he stated.
The President was accompanied by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Allan Kyeremanteng, the Minister of Special Development initiatives, the Minister of Road and Highways, the Minister of Transport and other key government officials.
Casa de Ropa produces crisps from the fresh roots of the orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.
The fresh roots are sliced and fried under controlled temperatures and in light oil.
The quality of the oil and the control of the temperatures of the heat under which the freshly sliced roots are fried determines the quality of the snack.