The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has cut the sod for the construction of a GH¢35 million watermelon processing factory at Walewale in the North East Region, under the ‘One-District, One-Factory’ initiative.
The factory, upon completion by the end of 2020, would eliminate the yearly post-harvest losses by watermelon farmers, especially, in the Walewale enclave and its surrounding communities to improve the economic wellbeing of the people.
It is expected to create direct employment for between 300 and 400 people and provide a ready market for between 2,000 and 3,000 peasant farmers.
Speaking at the ceremony on Monday, at Walewale, Vice President Bawumia said the construction of the GHc35 million factory funded by the Exim Bank, is in fulfillment of President Akufo-Addo’s efforts to reduce rural-urban migration and revitalise the country’s industrial base.
“The President pledged before Ghanaians his commitment to pursuing an aggressive industrialisation and value addition to agricultural produce through the flagship 1D1F programme.
“Under the IDIF, about 181 factories are at various stages of completion with some 58 of them already completed.
“The progress made by the government is significant for a three-year-old government,” Dr Bawumia said.
Vice President Bawumia urged farmers to take advantage of the setting up of the factory to scale up the production of watermelon with the required standards.
He said the fear of post-harvest losses would be a thing of the past and encouraged farmers to explore all-year-round farming in order to regularly feed the watermelon factory.
“With the construction of the Pwalugu multi-purpose dam, the prospects of agro-processing factories in the Northeast and the Upper East Regions of the country will be greatly enhanced,” he added.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Exim Bank, Lawrence Agyensaim said that GH¢100.00 million was allocated for the construction of factories in the five regions of the North.
He said his outfit was working closely with the promoters of those factories to ensure their speedy setup.
“Ghana Exim Bank is ready to support President Akufo-Addo’s vision of One-District-One Factory. Just as we supported the construction of Ekumfi Juice factory, we are also supporting the construction of this factory and many more for the greater development of Ghana” Mr Agynsaim stated.
Vice President Bawumia earlier performed a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of an ultra-modern 100-bed Hospital at Walewale for the West Mamprusi Municipality, to increase access to healthcare services in the North East Region and beyond.