Residents of Obuasi Municipality are expected to benefit from a GHC20 million oil palm plantation and processing factory under the One District, One Factory (1D1F) initiative.
Currently, two factories, Citrus and Bolts and Nuts factories, are undergoing processes to start full operations.
The initiative will be executed under the supervision of the Chief Executive Officer of LEAPAB, Mr Aboagye Ohene Adu, who is the former General Manager, Sustainability, Anglogold Ashanti, Obuasi Mine.
He believes the factories will offer the people of Obuasi an alternative to the world-acclaimed Obuasi mine.
Mr Ohene Adu said through the efforts of the Adansi Traditional Council, led by its president, Nana Opagyakotwere Bonsra Afriyie, and the Obuasi Municipal Assembly, he is in the process of acquiring a 1000-acre land at Adaase, in the municipality. He has therefore started by planting 100 acres of oil palm seedlings.
He anticipates planting 1000 acres of oil palm seedlings to serve as readily available raw materials for the oil palm factory and also buy from out-growers who have already benefited from seedlings under the Planting for Exports and Rural Development (PERD).
He expressed gratitude to the agric department of the Assembly for the technical support provided for him, adding that he will work closely with the Assembly when it comes to upgrading of roads linking the factory and other support.
The former miner said, currently, he has employed about 50 workers from the surrounding communities to work on the farm. He, however, hopes to employ over 300 workers when the factory starts full operations. This, he believes, will bridge the unemployment gap in the municipality.
At the first phase of the project, Mr Ohene-Adu will ensure a ready market because it is prudent to have a readily available raw materials base for a factory before putting up the physical structures.
Citing the Komenda Sugar Factory as an example, he said, “factories, especially agro-processing factories, are destined for failure when it has no reliable source of raw materials, hence, it is important not to put the cart before the horse.”
The LEAPAB Chief Executive said the gestation period for the project is between three and four years, adding that, so far, he has accessed credit facilities from the Ghana EXIM Bank, with hopes of accessing more facilities from other funding sources during the infrastructural stage.