The Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), has assured that it will provide special incentive and cost reduction packages for companies that venture into local manufacture of sugar and sugar confectionery including small scale manufacturers.
This strategic intervention, according to GEPA, is designed to promote Ghanaian manufactured sugar in the sub-region and other African markets.
Though the GEPA has identified challenges including the competition of brewers of local gin and manufacturers of ethanol for the sugarcane raw materials, the authority is poised to ensure timely development of sugarcane plantations and out-grower schemes to safeguard adequate availability of raw materials for sugar factories.
Sugar is part of the 17 integrated list of products in the National Export Development Strategy, and is one of the focal items under the Non-Traditional Exports items that GEPA has outlined in the strategy.
Ghana imports about US$2 million worth of sugar annually, while the Komenda Sugar Factory continues to under produce due to the lack of raw materials.
Though government, through a Sugar Policy has reconstructed and commissioned the factory in 2016 at a reported cost of US$35 million, it was however shutdown shortly after the factory was commissioned.
The Trade Ministry has indicated that a US$24.5 million Indian Eximbank credit facility was being obtained to develop and implement a plantation and out-grower scheme in a bid to provide raw materials for the factory.
While some 14,100 acres of sugarcane is expected to be cultivated to feed the plant under the scheme, the total output of fully operational factory of 250,000 metric tonnes will still be less than the 375,000 metric tonnes required nationally. With the deficit, Ghana still needs additional sugar for the domestic market and much more for exports.
Indeed, Ghana needs to see more investments in sugar factories if the country is to become a net exporter of sugar in the sub-region.
Meanwhile, Nigerian business magnate, Aliko Dangote has, according to GEPA, expressed interest to assist Ghana to become self-sufficient in sugar production.