The Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) PLC, Alhaji Alhassan Yakubu-Tali, has endorsed the Ekumfi factory model and advocated for its establishment across the country.
He said replication of the processing factory in agricultural-rich areas in the country would not only help improve the fortunes of the sector but also create jobs for the youth to better their lot.
Alhaji Yakubu-Tali said this when he paid a working visit to the Ekumfi Fruits & Juices and the Central Citrus factories in the Central Region.
The MD led a senior management team of the bank on a familiarisation tour of the farms and the processing plants as part of a strategy to assess the level of progress of businesses financed by the bank.
Alhaji Yakubu-Tali expressed satisfaction over the backward integration approach with sister companies to produce raw material requirements of the factories, as well as the level of automation to enhance efficiency and also improve quality control.
He said aside from the installation of modern equipment, the factories also followed stringent quality standards of workplace safety and uniformity of output, adding “I am not surprised that the products have passed the high export quality test”.
“The Ekumfi Fruits & Juices, and the Central Citrus factories should be model units for technology transfer to other processing concerns in the region and the entire country.
It showcases the adoption of best production and marketing practices.
“The commitment to quality and progress we have witnessed is truly remarkable. Ekumfi is not just growing but advancing the agribusiness sector in the country and setting benchmarks in sustainability and innovation,” the MD said.
He called for the establishment of more such model processing factories across the country to maximise the potential of agribusiness for national development.
The MD reiterated that “ADB will continue to play a critical role in transforming the agricultural sector by continually financing major government programmes such as the Enhanced Planting for Food and Jobs (E-PFJ) campaign, Rearing for Food and Jobs (RFJ), Planting for Export and Rural Development (PERD), as well as the One District One Factory (1D1F) initiatives”.
“The bank will continue to partner with the private sector and international organisations to invest more in agriculture for sustainable development,” he added.
The Ekumfi fruits and juices factory was established in 2019, under the One District, One Factory initiative by the government.
The company has since expanded with the establishment of two sister companies — Central Citrus Limited and Farm Direct Technology Limited.
The two companies have a combined farm size of over 4,200 acres, producing pineapple, citrus, watermelon and passion fruits, among others, to meet the raw material needs of the two factories.
The Ekumfi Fruits and Juices processing factory is currently producing fruit juices in 250ml tetra packs for the domestic and the United States (US) markets.
Installation of a new one-litre tetra pack line and the construction of a brewery are currently ongoing to increase the array of products of the group.
Construction of the Central Citrus factory for the production of citrus and passion juices, citrus oils, as well as other essential oils, is almost completed.