GHANA – Park Agrotech Limited, a Ghanaian agribusiness company and strategic investor of the Komenda Sugar Factory, has penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Cape Coast (UCC) to develop modalities for the operationalisation of the Komenda Sugar Factory.
The Komenda Sugar Factory, which was built by the Ghanaian government at a cost of US$35 million from an Indian EXIM Bank facility, was inaugurated in May 2016.
But many challenges, including the unreliable supply of sugarcane for continuous processing after the preliminary test run, hampered the operations of the company.
The MoU which would be effective for three years was signed by Processor Joseph Ghartey-Ampiah, outgoing Vice-Chancellor of UCC and Mr Lalit Mishra, Managing Director of Agrotech Ghana Ltd, reports Ghana Web.
According to the partnership, the University would among other things provide strategic technical and human resource support to produce sugarcane planting materials for the company and its out-grower for the sustainability of sugarcane production and its processing.
It would also provide land space to establish sugarcane field gene-bank and conserve the eight most relevant genetic resources of the crop in consultation with the company to serve as a source of explants for vitro propagation.
Park Agrotech on its part would provide infrastructure for the production of sugarcane planting material and breeding including a well-resourced state-of-the-art commercial Tissue Culture laboratory for the production of sugarcane plantlets.
The company would also provide funding for research, material, and equipment in critical areas such as Biotechnology and Tissue Culture, disease and pest control, soil fertility, agriculture engineering, food science among others.
The factory requires about 125,000 tonnes of sugarcane per day, which the current sugarcane production cannot supplement it.
The UCC has since 2015 undertaken a series of research to produce high yielding sugarcane planting material to address the huge feed-stock deficit of the Komenda Sugar factory for its sustainability.
The University’s collaboration with Park Agrotech Ghana Ltd was as a result of its research and the collective capacities of the two institutions would make the factory productive with sustainable sugarcane to feed it.
Over the first three years, Agrotech would invest US$28 million in capital expenditure and working capital, including paying an annual concession fee of US$3.3 million for a period of 15 years to revive the industry.
It is expected that the revival of the factory will drastically reduce the importation of sugar and create both direct and indirect jobs for people in the sugar industry across the country.