The port of Tema would soon get a major cold store devoted to the export of fruit. This was disclosed to The Accra Mail in an exclusive interview by Mr. Rien van Beek, General Manager for Special Projects of Internationaal Expeditiebedrijf Ebrex B.V.
He said Ghana is on the list of countries which the Dutch government would like to help to increase the export of its fruit. The Tema Port has "everything" but lacks the infrastructure for fruit export. A consortium of four companies, including local partners is being put together to get the project going.
The Port Authority of Rotterdam, one of the largest in the world, has expressed an interest in the project.
A cold store, Mr. Beek said, "takes the pressure away" because the harvesting of fruit need not be rushed and can be done on a daily basis to await the arrival of vessels.
Explaining further, he said, "we cannot do this alone, it is a governmental thing."
The cold storage for meat, fish and other animal products cannot be used for fruit, so though the Tema Harbour has many cold stores, none of them would be suitable for the growing Ghanaian fruit export.
Mr. Beek's visit was to avail him the opportunity of talking to all the players in the industry and so he met with a lot of the Ghanaian fruit exporters "who see the advantage of this project".
He disclosed further that officials of the Dutch government have already been in touch with their Ghanaian counterparts and both the ministries of agriculture and trade are "aware of what we are doing and they have embraced it."
The project has left the drawing board stage and at the moment, they are already talking of the acquisition of land near Shed 9 at the harbour to begin construction. The Dutch government will pay 1.5 million guilders (US$700.000) towards the realisation of the Project, EBREX will contribute US$250,000. Other partners will contribute a total of US$550,000.
Mr. Beek is so confident about the viability of the project that he told The Accra Mail, "We think, we will be breaking even in 3 years."
He regards the availability of such a cold store as very essential "when you like to meet European standards, because a cold store will prolong your shelf life."
Meanwhile, it has been reported that a Ghanaian fruit exporting company The Lartey Associates (Ghana) Ltd., has won an international award for the quality of the papaya it exports to Europe.
Organoleptic tests were conducted on papaya for several weeks and the Ghanaian fruit came out tops.
Over 10 people participated in the test, scoring the fruit for various features with a max of 4 points.
The results showed that:
* Solo (Ghana and Jamaica) is preferred to Golden (Brazil and Caliman)
* Fruit from Jamaica and Ghana came top of the list.
* The colour of Jamaican Solo is generally better appreciated than the colour of Solo from Ghana, but a fraction of the tasters found it too dark.
* The smell, taste and texture of Jamaican and Ghanaian Solo are similar. Some people fond of Jamaican fruit, and others prefering that from Ghana.