Fruit juice processing factories have threatened of an imminent collapse of the industry should the government fail to intervene and address the challenge of unavailability of raw materials.
They argue that the development has compelled them to underutilize their respective installed capacities.
The processors are also unable to produce to meet demand due to rising production costs.
The resulting effect is the millions of dollars the country loses to import similar processed fruit juices, annually.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Monday, the Director of Corporate Affairs at Blue Skies, Alistair Gyimatey told Host Bernard Avle that,
“The development is actually going to hurt industries because considering the fact that existing factories are having challenges with raw materials, what will happen to new investors? The sustainability of the operations is a big challenge so we need to look at it from the raw materials perspective.”
Mr. Gyimatey added, “If nothing is done to improve fruits (mangoes, pineapples, pawpaw) production, most of these businesses are in the danger of collapsing.”
Ghana is said to be importing 150 million dollars worth of fruit juice every year to supplement the local supply.
This measures against the 40 million dollars worth of production by local producers which represents 28 percent of local demand for fruit juices.
In addition, Mr. Alistair Gyimatey implored on the government to be more concerned with the growth of local businesses if it is to ensure economic growth.
“How do we increase the capacity of our production base so that we will be able to meet the demand of this industry so we will able to process and stay in business?” he queried.
Other persistent challenges confronting the fruit processors are the perennial cedi depreciation, high cost of power, low standard of available raw materials, among others.
Planting for food and jobs to the rescue?
The government has launched its planting for food and jobs program to support agric production by connecting producers with consumers.
Commenting on how the policy could help reverse the trend, Mr. Gyimatey maintained that that the move will solve the issues partially.
He explained that the underlying issue of mechanization in the agric sector ought to be addressed to enable fruit processors get the standard needed from farmers.
“If we want to produce to meet the industrial need, we need to mechanise agric…we need a better agricultural system that will produce food crops to feed industries, create jobs and support the economy.”
“I am yet to see how it will be implemented to benefit Ghanaians but I think a lot more needs to be done,” he added.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana