The National Coordinator of the One district One factory (IDIF) Secretariat, Mrs Gifty Ohene Konadu, has indicated that more factories will be established across the country under the initiative in 2019.
She was speaking at a forum held by the secretariat, in collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), in Accra for interested investors, known as promoters under the 1D1F initiative.
The forum was to help the investors gain first-hand knowledge of processing requirements and understand the regulatory framework underlining their businesses and the work of the FDA.
Mrs Konadu said 58 per cent of proposals received fell within the agricultural sector, with food and beverages being the main agricultural business.
She said less than 30 per cent of agricultural produce from developing countries was processed, compared to 98 per cent in the advanced countries, and that the 1D1F initiative would help bridge the gap and address income inequalities between rural and urban communities.
Benefits to be derived from the industrial processing of agricultural produce, she stated, would include enhancing the shelf life of produce, cutting down waste to ensure stable income for farmers and sustainable food security.
Additionally, she said, processing agricultural produce would enable the country to cut down on food imports.
The Omanhene of the Asante Juaben Traditional Area, Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso, who chaired the forum, said regulatory compliance was pivotal to business growth.
Nana Dankawoso, who doubles as the President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber was ready to engage and support businesses to ensure that they thrived.
He urged Ministers of State and Members of Parliament to consider investing part of their common fund in the agricultural sector.
The Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Mrs Delese Darko, said about 60 per cent of promoters registered under the 1D1F initiative fell under the purview of the FDA.
The authority, she said, had put in place measures to deploy human resource to provide technical support for the promoters to ensure that they met the requirements of the authority.
She cautioned that the FDA would, however, not compromise on standards in order to protect consumers.
The acting Director in charge of the Built Environment Unit of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mrs Cindy Bodoe, said the agency was ready to assist and support operators under the 1D1F initiative to meet standards and produce in an environmentally friendly manner to protect the environment.
She said the EPA used a number of measures to encourage compliance and penalise defaulters.
One of such measures, she said, was the polluter pays principle which was used to penalise industries whose emission or discharge did not meet the ambiance and air quality discharge guidelines of the EPA.
The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Collins Ntim, said the 1D1F would drive the decentralisation agenda and lead to the creation of jobs and wealth.
He outlined a number of programmes being carried out at the district level, such as cultivating cashew, mango, shea, rubber, coffee, oil palm and citrus seedlings for distribution to farmers for the production of raw materials that would feed the 1D1F initiative.
The Head of the SME and IDIF Unit of the GCB Bank, Mr George Fuachie, said the bank had dedicated GHc1 billion to support companies who would need financial assistance under the initiative.
So far, he said, the bank had received 378 applications from interested people in the 1D1F initiative and indicated that most of the business plans were, however, below standard.
He, therefore, advised interested promoters to invest and focus on the development of their business plans to ensure that they were approved when the bank reviewed proposals received.