Astek Company Limited, a fruit processing company at Nsawam is to bounce back in operation by April 2020.
The Company which is under the One-District -One-Factory policy of the government, is expected to take delivery of 600metric tonne pineapple processing equipment by January 2020 to enable it to commence operations in April 2020,
Minister for Trade and Industry, John Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng, revealed this to parliament on Thursday, November 7, 2019.
The Industry Minister was in the House to answer question filed by Hon. Frank Annor-Dompreh, Member of Parliament for the area.
Mr Annor-Dompreh wanted to know what plans were been made to revive the company to give job opportunities to the youth of the Nsawam-Adoagyiri and its environs
In answering the question, the Minister said the Ghana Export-Import Bank (EXIMBANK) has approved a loan of GHS5 million to the Astek Company Limited to revamp the million processing operations at Nsawam in the Eastern Region.
Out of the amount, the bank has since disbursed GHS2, 639,670 to the company as capital expenditure to purchase machines and other equipment, while GH2, 805,000 is yet to be released to the as working capital.
He assured the House that with the provision of the capital expenditure, the company would begin operations in April 2020.
ASTEK, which began fruits processing work in 1982, shut down its operations in 2009 as a result of financial challenges.
Prior to folding up, the company was a major employer of residents of Nsawam-Adoagyiri and their surroundings including Aburi and Accra.
Nevertheless, Mr Kyeremanten said Astek Company Limited was one of the first companies that expressed interest to be part of the Ministry of Trade’s stimulus package programme and subsequently the One-District-One-Factory (IDIF) initiative, using its subsidiary company, Nano Foods Limited.
He stated that the company applied for an amount of GH5, 444,760 from EXIM Bank, consisting of capital expenditure of GH2, 639,760 and working capital of GH2, 805,000.
“Mr Speaker, the capital expenditure component of the amount, GH2, 639,760 805,000, has been disbursed to the company, with the working.
“The promoter has therefore ordered a 600 metric tonnes per annum pineapple processing equipment that is scheduled to arrive in January 2020 for installation, to enable the company to commence operations in April 2020.
“The promoter has also used part of the disbursed amount to refurbish the company’s premises at Nsawam but will require an additional amount of GH500, 000 to complete the refurbishment due to cost overrun,” he stated.
He explained that the company had secured orders to export canned slice and chunked pineapple to Spain, USA and Egypt under the new brand name, Nano Foods.
“With regard to the local market, Mr Speaker, the company will produce and supply fresh pineapple juice,” he said, stressing that the firm would create a minimum of 60 direct jobs and 200 indirect jobs for residents, particularly the youth of Nsawam-Adoagyiri and surrounding communities.
In addition to that, the sector Minister said the company would purchase the produce of pineapple from farmers or out-growers in the community to complement supplies from the company’s nucleus farm to enhance their incomes and improve their livelihoods.
To ensure the successful operations of the company, Mr Kyeremanten said his ministry would continue to provide all the incentives and support services earmarked for the IDIF companies.
“The Ministry has also assigned a consultant to work with the business promoter to enhance operational performance for the achievement of the company’s objectives,” he assured the House.
This, Mr Annor-Dompreh told Journalists in an interview he felt elated that the government had made every effort to resuscitate the company which he said would be “a relief for the people of Nsawam-Adoagyiri constituency.”
“I feel fulfilled because this is something I have pursued for the past two years as a Member of Parliament,” he added.
The MP said the factory would not only bring direct jobs to youth in the area but pineapple farmers would have a ready market for their farm produce.
Nsawam and its communities are one of the largest producers of pineapple in the country, but most of the products do go waste due to absence of the market.
He, therefore, urged the youth and farmers to take the opportunity and engaged in active farming of pineapple.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba