The Komenda Sugar Factory in the Central Region inaugurated by former President John Mahama a year ago has never fully produced sugar.
According to the deputy Trade Minister, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, government upon the inauguration of the factory, bought semi processed sugar which the now shut down factory refined for people to taste.
He explained to the Public Accounts Committee last Friday that the variety of the raw sugar cane required for commercial production to feed the factory was not available “The sugar you tasted from the Komenda Sugar Factory was not produced by the Komenda Sugar Factory, government bought semi processed sugar and it was tasted. We have never put cane sugar through the full system of the Komenda sugar factory,” he stated.
The defunct factory was resuscitated and commissioned by the John Mahama government on May 30, 2016 with a 35 million-dollar facility from the Exim Bank of India.
The factory was to crush 1,200 tonnes of sugarcane per day but had not long after its commissioning, was temporary shutdown for what authorities say, to allow for maintenance work.
It was scheduled to resume operations in October 2016 but the date has since been missed. Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Friday, Mr Ahomka-Lindsay, revealed the factory is faced with lack of appropriate variety of sugarcane for commercial production, among other challenges.
“The sugar content of the sugarcane variety we have is not suitable for commercial production. The Indians who were contracted by government did not bring in all,” he said.
“Currently, the size of land we need for cultivating sugar is not available and so the Ministry is currently, looking for enough land with irrigation for the project. The soil around Komenda is not appropriate for cultivations so if we don’t get the appropriate cane variety, then we will do the same thing and only reinvent the wheel” he explained.
Meanwhile, he said the Ministry is engaging with other entities to ensure that the factory resumes operations.
“Komenda will operate, but we want to make sure that it operates with commercial capacity to benefit the Ghanaian people,” he said.