Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has cut the sod for the construction of a GH¢35 million watermelon processing factory in 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.
The factory is expected to create direct employment for between 300 and 400 people and provide a ready market for between 2000 and 3000 peasant farmers.
Speaking at the ceremony on Monday, at Walewale, Vice President Bawumia said the construction of the GH¢35 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 were 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.
Mr Lawrence Agyensaim, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Exim Bank, said that GH¢100 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 set up.
“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.