A 200-acre avocado plantation is under cultivation in Abuakwa in the Eastern Region, the first phase of an agro-processing project under the One-District-One-Factory (1D1F) programme.
The project owners, Akuapem Gold Agro Processing Limited, has targeted to cultivate 2,000 acres of three varieties of avocado within the next year and scale it up to 10,000 acres within the next five years
The construction of the factory, the second phase of the agro project, has started. The factory will have a processing capacity of six to eight tonnes per hour, according to the Chairman of Akuapem Gold, Albert Wilson.
On Monday, May 20, Okyehene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, led top dignitaries in the agric-value chain to inaugurate the avocado cultivation and process project.
Minister for Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto; National Coordinator of the 1D1F, Gifty Ohene-Konadu; CEO of the Middle Belt Development Authority, Joe Danquah among others were among those present.
Speaking at the project inauguration, Mr Wilson said the long-term objectives of the wholly-owned Ghanaian company fits within the targets of the government’s 1D1F programme.
“The project rationale is many folds and the realization of the corporate goals of Akuapen Gold will mean a significant contribution to the social economic development of Ghana.
“Among the several significant benefits that nation will derive from the company are: employment generation both direct and indirect, assured market for similar crop producers within the catchment area and beyond poverty reduction, positive impact of our inter-crops for the food security needs of the country,” he said.
The project is expected to create least 5,000 direct and indirect jobs when it becomes fully functional.
The Agric Minister said avocado, which he called “a wonder crop” is fast gaining a reputation as a new commercial crop globally and touted the Abuakwa avocado project as timely.
“Avocado is a crop of the future…the total of world trade in avocado is over US$16 billion and it’s growing at a very fast rate at nearly 10% per annum,” the Minister said.
Akuapem Gold’s avocado cultivation and processing project is being funded by Ghana Exim Bank.
The 56 small-scale processing facilities will be owned by youth groups who will be trained to manage the facilities.