Casa De Ropa factory will be commissioned on August 21, 2020 by His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana
President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Saturday, September 15, 2018, toured a 300-acre potato processing factory at Gomoa Bewadze in Central Region.
The President was accompanied on the tour by Trades Minister, Alan Kyerematen, and other governmental officials.
The visit to the potato factory, called Casa De Ropa, is part of the President’s tour of the Central Region which started on Friday.
Akufo-Addo has already visited the Brong Ahafo, Western, Ashanti, Volta and the three regions of the north as part of a nationwide tour that started this year.
President Akufo-Addo, Alan Kyeremanten, others at the Potato Processing Factory. President Akufo-Addo has expressed overwhelming confidence in the potentials and benefits the Potato Processing Factory at Gomoa Bewadze in the Gomoa West District of the Central Region.
According to him, the Potato industry could be a great game changer if given the needed attention and resources. Even though the factory is yet to be completed and commissioned, the company, Casa De Ropa, has started producing bread, chips, and other pastries from the potato variety, ‘the Orange fleshed sweet potato’, for the consumption of the public.
Interacting with the CEO of Casa De Ropa, Ebenezer Obeng Baffoe, during his visit to the factory, the President was amazed at the enormous potentials and benefits that the potato has to offer the Ghanaian economy. “This is real a game changer. This represents what I have been preaching about growing what we eat and eating what we grow. Government will offer all the support needed for the thriving of this burgeoning industry,” the president said.
President Akufo Addo tasted some of the chips, the bread and other products that have been made out of the Potato and remarked, “It is indeed good and I love the taste.” His entourage who had been held spell-bound at what they saw at the factory joined the President in the ‘potato feast.’
The President said, government will continue to empower the Private sector to spearhead the provision of jobs and the production of food for the local economy. “The idea about the One District, One Factory, has been manifested here at Casa De Ropa; the Provision of jobs and the production of food for the consumption of the people. Government is on course to change the situation of the Ghanaian through this,” he said.
CEO of the Casa De Ropa, Potato processing factory, Ebenezer Obeng Baffoe, told the President, how the project that is yet to be completed is changing the lives of people in the Gomoa area.
“The factory would be completed by the end of this year. We are not waiting for the factory building to be completed before we start business. Our raw materials are in abundance here. We have cultivated close to 200 acres of potato. We have over 800 acres of land that we are still cultivating,” he said.
Mr. Obeng Baffoe intimated that the potato processing would soon assume a revolution because of the health, economic and other benefits that it brings. “It has vitamin A that is very good for children and help people who react negatively to artificial sugar. We do not add sugar to any of our products. The economic potentials are overwhelming.”
The Technology and Innovation manager of the factory, Joseph Okyere, said the company is training and mentoring farmers to produce the potato variety. This, he believes would have significant economic benefits to them and their families. “The factory will provide 1004 direct jobs but currently we have employed over 150 workers. The indirect jobs it will provide is unimaginable.”
“The government purchasing power will be explored to generate additional market. The school feeding program from primary school to secondary school, the prisons, hospitals and other institutions of the like where imported food items are served can be complimented by the numerous recipes from the sweet potatoes. The export market will be keenly looked into for both the fresh roots and the processed products,” he explained.
The Technical Manager of the company, Tony Dawson-Amoah explained the two dams at the farms will help the company produce potato all year round.
“We have out grower schemes that are complementing the main farms that are here. We are in touch with other Districts to get lands to put under cultivation,” he averred.
The president was accompanied by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanteng, the Minister of Special Development initiatives, the Minister of Road and Highways, the Minister of Transport and other key government officials.
Casa de Ropa produces crisps from the fresh roots of the orange fleshed sweet potatoes. The fresh roots are sliced and fried under controlled temperatures and in light oil. The quality of the oil and the control of the temperatures of the heat under which the fresh sliced roots are fried determines the quality of the snack.
Besides lack of development, education, disease, food security, unemployment is also gaining recognition as a well-documented crisis relating to poverty in Ghana.
The rate of unemployment in Ghana increased from 5.54% in 2015 to 5.77% in 2016, this pushes the average rate to 6.51% between the periods of 1991 to 2016, reaching an alarming level (GSS- Ghana Labour Force Survey, 2016). Unemployment has become a common phenomenon and cancer all over the world and if individual economies like Ghana does not rise up to the occasion it would be hard to receive any meaningful interventions from other economies facing similar plights.
For the vast majority of the world’s poor, the land they occupy is their only significant asset. Unfortunately, in Ghana most of these individuals have not been able to invest and till these lands for substantial economic gains. A report by WFP (2009) revealed that about 1.2 million people, representing 5 percent of Ghana’s population, are food insecure. Also, according to FAO (2010), there are an estimated 925 million hungry people in the world. Around 1.4 billion people live on less than US$1.25 a day. Poor people spend between 50 and 80 per cent of their income on food. The world population is expected to reach 9.1 billion by 2050 and food production will need to nearly double by 2050 in developing countries. About 40 per cent of the world’s arable land is degraded to some degree and will be further affected by climate change. There are about half a billion small farms in the world, supporting around 2 billion people. There has not been any significant improvement barely 7 years after these observations.
It is the firm conviction of Casa de Ropa Limited based on lessons learnt from our experiences that the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato farming and processing could be the game changer in our local communities, to create employment, to generate income, to enhance healthy conditions especially of children and women and to improve living standards in general. FAO (2010) GDP growth generated by agriculture is up to four times more effective in reducing poverty than growth generated by other sectors. Potato is a well-known crop in Ghana that serves mainly as staple food to many people especially in the rural areas. The usefulness of the crop has however been realized of late with the introduction of the variety known as the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato – ( OFSP). Orange-fleshed sweet potato as a staple food has an advantage over most vegetables, it has significant amounts of beta-carotene content (vitamin A) and a lot of energy at the same time. Also, its bakery properties are incredible.
Casa de Ropa believes that primary production is the sure way to change the economy of Ghana and processing what is produced will create the desired sustainability. Most local farmers have no other employable skills, hence they are very susceptible to poverty, if what they produce from their farms do not find reliable and consistent market. Training and mentoring farmers to produce orange flesh sweet potato would have significant economic benefits to them and their families.
A factory is being established at Gomao Bewadze, Gomoa West District of the Central Region to process the Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato into puree, which lend itself into further processing into biscuit, bread and chips, crisp, dough nuts, pies and other pastries.
A key benefit of the factory is the fact that its main raw material, the orange fleshed sweet potato is locally produced and forms more than 50% of its inputs, in the production of chips, bread and biscuits.
The government purchasing power will be explored to generate additional market. The school feeding program from primary school to secondary school, the prisons, hospitals and other institutions of the like where imported food items are served can be complimented by the numerous recipes from the sweet potatoes. The export market will be keenly looked into for both the fresh roots and the processed products.
Substituting a percentage of imported flour with the fresh roots of the Orange Flesh Sweet Potato produced by the local farmers will improve the nation’s balance of payment challenges.