The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has commissioned the Weddi Africa Tomato Processing Factory, under the 1-District-1-Factory initiative, at Domfete, in the Berekum West District of the Bono Region
The government has facilitated a loan of US$16mn, through Ghana Exim Bank and ADB Bank Ghana, to support the establishment and operations of the factory, owned by Weddi Africa Limited, a Ghanaian company.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the establishment of the factory is an example of how the private sector can help in Ghana’s industrial transformation. He further added that the setting up of this manufacturing facility, outside the traditional areas of Accra, Tema and Takoradi, underscores the commitment of the government towards decentralising industrial development, and stimulating economic activity in the rural areas.
He explained that Domfete was chosen for establishing the factory because the town is a major catchment area for the cultivation of fresh tomatoes, and will help in reducing rural-urban migration.
The factory will process some 40,000 metric tonnes of fresh tomatoes per annum, and will have a 500 metric tonne cold room facility, to store fresh tomatoes. In addition, the facility will have a model farm and research centre, designed to conduct seed trials and train farmers on best farm practices, as well as an agric-input shop, to supply inputs to the farmers at affordable prices.
This will boost the profitability of the factory and improve income levels for the farmers engaged by the company.
In addition, a 2,400-acre farmland as nucleus farm has been set up by Weddi Africa. The company is also spearheading the establishment of a Tomato Outgrower Farmers Association in Tano North, and Berekum West districts, with 2,000 registered farmers from Ahafo and Bono regions.
The registered farmers will receive seeds, fertilisers, other inputs, and technical services from the relevant MDAs. These government supported mechanisms have been put in place to provide the requisite support services to ensure the profitability and sustainability of the factory.
So far, the factory has created some one hundred and fifty-eight (158) direct jobs, with some two thousand, one hundred (2,100) indirect job opportunities for the people of Berekum West District and surrounding communities.
The government is committed to supporting private sector operators such as Weddi Africa Limited, to make them globally competitive, so that they can access market integration frameworks, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), whose secretariat has been established in Accra.
The ministry of trade and Industry, in collaboration with relevant MDAs, has established an institutional mechanism to provide strategic support and assistance to the local private sector operating at the district level.
The President commended the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), Food & Drugs Authority (FDA) and various other stakeholders for the support they have provided to the company.
He also commended the Chief Executive Officer of Weddi Africa Limited, Yaw Boahene, and his team for establishing a modern manufacturing facility in Domfete near Berekum in the Bono region, in support of government’s Industrial Transformation Agenda.