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Open Letter To His Excellency Ex-President JD Mahama On The Politics Of Ghana’s Agro-Industrial Sector Especially Sugar Production Series And Other Matters

By Major Mohammed Bogobiri (Rtd)
Letter Open Letter To His Excellency Ex-President JD Mahama On The Politics Of Ghana’s Agro-Industrial Sector Especially Sugar Production Series And Other Matters
OCT 25, 2021 LISTEN

Hello, His Excellency ex-President JD Mahama,

Please His Excellency President Nana Addo in 2017 invited the citizenry to be constructive citizens by active participatory (joining) in the National Development efforts. Hence, as senior patriotic citizen, I have the singular duty, first to Almighty God and second to my Country and lastly to my grand relatives or children to ensure President Nana Addo, (the Show boy) manages this Country very well as well as to ensure the right person takes over from the Show boy after the 2024 Presidential Election, hence my take on the politics or rather the development of Ghana’s agro-industrial sector especially the sugar production series in Ghana and other matters.

Before I expound on the subject, please sir, let me digress by boring you that a Sugar Production Series involves three standalone or distinct operations as well as an aspect on maturity of sugar cane to ensure brix quality for milling at a Sugar Mill in order to ensure high extraction of impure sucrose or ethanol.

Firstly, a Sugar Production Series involves the Agronomy (Agriculture) or the science of soil management therefore the availability of arable land that is suitable for crop production and the actual crop production (herein the production and harvesting of sugarcane for the treatment into raw sugar and the treatment of the Raw Sugar into the final product as pure sugar for human consumption). Sir, Sugar Cane takes 10 to 15 months to attain the maturity age to meet the requirements (brix quality) for milling at a Sugar Milling Factory. Please the maturity of sugarcane, among others depends on variety, the climatic condition and husbandry care of sugarcane. Maturity is one of the factors for determining the suitability for milling at a Sugar Factory and the harvested sugarcane must be delivered fresh to the Sugar Mill.

Secondly, or the next Sugar Production Series after the Agronomic aspect, involves the washing, shredding and crushing or milling/treating of fresh Sugar Cane into Raw Sugar at a Sugar Mill or Factory. The Sugarcane must reach and be treated at the Sugarcane Milling Factory or Plant within 16 hours time, that is from the harvesting time, transporting time to the Sugarcane Milling Factory or Plant and treated by washing, cutting and milling within the 16hours. Please the 16 hours limit is to ensure good recovery of sucrose and or to prevent the sugarcane to be declared as not fit for production of raw sugar.

Lastly or thirdly, the Sugar Production Series involves a Sugar Refinery Factory for converting raw sugar no matter the age into pure sugar for human consumption. His excellency ex-President JD Mahama (HEJDM), please depending on the economics of location theory and comparative advantage this Standalone Refinery or Factory can be located close to a Sugar Mill or thousands of miles away from the Sugar Milling Factory. So based on your idea to have all three operation in and around Komenda the proposed Sugar Production Series is herein termed as the comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory.

HEJDM, my take on the development or rather the politics of Ghana’s agro-industrial sector especially the sugar production series in Ghana, has become necessary, firstly because you, His excellency ex-President JD Mahama (HEJDM),who was one time the Head of State, Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana for that matter somebody who held comprehensive Executive Power in Ghana before, is currently projecting yourself as one of the aspirants (including the magnificent and economic guru Dr Kwabena Donkor, a former very honest Finance Minister without any corruption baggage) as the Presidential Candidate for the great NDC Party the 2024 Presidential Election, so that one elected by both your party, the NDC and the voting citizenry in 2024, you take over from the Show boy (His Excellency President Nana Addo) to once again lead this great Nation with richly gifted resources by Almighty Allah but badly managed by you and others.

Secondly, my mail to you is due to your statement during your tour of the Central Region that you did economics in the Secondary School and therefore you were not stupid for your attempt to establish sugar production series at Komenda.

Sir, the Komenda Sugar Factory as planned by you (His Excellency ex-President Mahama) was expected to have the three distinct components in a Sugar production series namely (a) cultivation, harvesting of sugar cane and the transporting of same to the proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory. (b). Initial milling and extraction into Raw Sugar which is a distinct operation at a factory. (c). The raw sugar is then transported by conveyor belt or appropriate means to a Separate Factory known as Sugar Refinery to refine the sugar into refined sugar. I wish to emphasize that as well as point out your error with the proposed Comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory by saying that the sugar Mill and Sugar Factory can be in two different locations (or towns or cities, Countries or Continents) based on comparative advantages.

HEJDM, I also wish to emphasize that as well as point your error with the proposed Comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory by saying that many sugarcane mills or Factories operate only during the harvesting season, whereas refineries can work all year round depending on availability of Raw Sugar, therefore the location of a Sugar Refinery must be such that it reduces cost of production, it enjoys readily and cheap power and enhances proximity to Market. Hence, His Excellency President Nana Addo the Show boy was 100 percent right when he said that the proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory was initiated by you (HEJDM) without a good plan.

The construction and commissioning of a Sugar Refinery at Komenda without the availability of the raw material which is mainly raw sugar and the incomplete Sugar Mill at the Komenda site due to lack of certain parts including the power plant system for the bagasse and the lack of the system for the waste or effluent discharge thus implying that the factory was not certified by the Environmental Protection Agency or it Authority (EPA) for routine operation. Lastly, there was lacked of a stock of raw sugar at Komenda or a nearby Warehouse stored there after importation and transportation to Komenda with associated high risks (high cost in transportation and issue of marketing etc). All the above issues pointed to monumental errors, hence this was not the

best idea and therefore the proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory was initiated by you, HEJDM without critical thinking as this paper may attempt to prove.

His excellency ex-President JD Mahama, it was reported in 2014 or so by you that Ghana imports over 200 million dollars worth of sugar annually. Hence, the main or primary idea for the proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory as then in the NDC’s Better Ghana Agenda postulated by you and the NDC Party was to reverse this situation. The issue of employments for over 7,000 people could be said to be a secondary reason or accrual benefit.

So, His Excellency ex-President JD Mahama, Ghana actually imports over 300,000 metric tons of refined sugar per year which amounted to the 200 million dollars every year from Sugar Refinery Factories worldwide. This was what the Better Ghana Agenda of your (NDC) Administration initiated action to reverse the situation. So to reverse the situation, Ghana must produce not less than 300,000 tons of refined sugar per year.

His excellency ex-President JD Mahama to do so, Ghana needs to produce over 2,000,000 metric tons of sugarcane because 15 tons of raw sugar is obtained for every 100 tons of sugarcane processed by crushing, milling and the extraction at a Sugarcane Mill (factory) to obtain raw sugar or impure sucrose (due to presence of molasses etc). Note One ton of sugarcane contains approximately 120 kg of sugar, 38 kg molasses, 36 kg of filter mud and 250 kg of bagasse, 60 kg of straw and 100 kg of tops. Hence, depending on the variety, climatic condition, agronomic practices, maturity stage or age (brix quality) etc, 12 to 15 tons of raw sugar is obtained for every 100 tons of sugarcane.

Hence, based on the history of sugarcane production (tonnage and variety) in Ghana, the climatic requirements of sugarcane in the face of erratic climatic condition in Ghana of two rainy seasons (major and minor). Likewise issues of other land usage or arable land availability problem, and the lack of irrigation system to sustain production of sugarcane, marketing issues because of likely demand by farmers for prohibitive sale price for the harvested sugarcane. This may be so due to monopoly or marketing cartel which among others was the cause of the closure of President Nkrumah’s or the old Komenda Sugar Factory and the Asutsuare Sugar Factory.

The issues with the Pwalugu Tomatoes Factory should have guided you to know that there was or is no way that your ill advice approach would have made or could make the proposed factory to sustain production or talk about Ghana to produce 2,000,000 metric tons of sugarcane in one year to reverse the trend.

His excellency ex-President JD Mahama, your proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory especially the Sugar Milling Factory when completed was or is expected to have an operational cycle of 180 days with a maximum capacity of 1,250 tons of sugarcane per day, implying a requirement of 225,000 (180 x 1,250) tons of sugarcane per year. Hence, the Sugar refinery component of the proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory which can operate all year round will be idle for 6 months which is both technically and economically not good at all.

His excellency ex-President JD Mahama, based on the reported sugarcane yield of 40tons per hectare in Ghana, the 225,000 (180 x 1,250) tons of sugarcane per year to be attained at the proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory, the project will require 5,625 hectares (225,000 tons of sugarcane per year divided by 40tons per hectare) of arable land within 60 miles radius or 16hrs reach as stated above. The encroachment of the land by other users speaks volume of not possible to sustain production or meet the target on the ground.

Sir they may attempt to do so if and only if the farmers and the Komenda Sugar Factory use good hybrid cuttings or sugar seed stocks , irrigation system, and good agronomic practices including efficient weeding, pest control application of fertilizer (NPK of 15.45.45 composition) to increase the reported yield of the farmers which is about 40tons per hectare to 70 to 80 tons per hectare, the farmers and the Komenda Sugar Factory can only provide 37,500 tons of raw sugar (225,000 x 100 divided by 15) in a year for the refinery component of the proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory, thus the refinery will be idle for most of the time, an act unacceptable in economics and technical consideration.

His excellency ex-President JD Mahama, considering the issue of sabotage by farmers for demand for prohibitive price due to carter or monopoly, the need for in-house sugarcane Plantation for the Komenda Sugar Factory to provide nurseries to the out growers as well as produce own sugarcane to sustain production for a minimum of 30 days cannot be over-emphasized.

So, based on the crushing and milling capacity of the Komenda Sugar Factory, reportedly as 1,250 tons of Sugarcane per day, then 30 days production period will require 37,500 tons of fresh sugarcane (1,250 tons per day x 30 days of sugarcane at its own in-house sugarcane plantation). Hence, based on the yield target of about 40 tons per hectare, the 37,500 tons of sugarcane for 30 days may require at least 938 hectares of arable land for the in-house sugar plantation for the proposed comprehensive Komenda Sugar Factory.

Sir, I drove through the Site in November 2015 and found that a greater part of the land around the Plant Site has been encroached (massively by estate developers ) or sold out to the public including the Ndoum University and some areas could not be said to be arable land, thus not readily suitable for Sugarcane production. I also combed the satellite or nearby Districts including Shama, Mpohor or Wassa East District with Daboasi as the capital town and the situation of encroachment by estate developers etc was the same if not worst.

His Excellency ex-President JD Mahama, if I am given the chance as the President of Ghana, I will work hard to reduce the huge importation of rice and or Chicken (thanks to God, the Show boy has done it with the support to Darko poultry Farm) and encourage the Private sector to establish sugar refinery at Accra for treating or refining imported Sugar and help support the establishment of semi-Sugar Mills at areas where the people are growing Sugarcane and where sugarcane etc can grow to supply the Refinery at Tema with ethanol or raw sugar and supply molasses to the Alcohol Industry and ethanol to the Cosmetic Industry and for manufacturing of Sanitizers.

His excellency ex-President JD Mahama, I can see or guess that your advisers woefully failed to conduct efficient risk assessment in your attempt to make Ghana to reverse the huge expenditure of over 200million dollars annually on the importation of sugar as required in the Better Ghana Agenda of your regime for a better plan as stated above.

It is very sad that you or your advisers woefully failed to use simple local knowledge on the problems in Ghana especially on the operations of the old Komenda Sugar Mill and that of Asutsuare and maybe the failed allied agro-industry like the Pwalugu Tomatoes Factory. So, if and only if there was the need for a Sugar Refinery, then the need for and its location should have been based on the principle of location theory and comparative advantage. So the best way was or is to establish a Sugar Refinery at Tema or Takoradi near the harbor for almost all year round refining with some quantity of imported raw sugar of about 500,000 tons from Sugar mills worldwide and supplement with raw sugar from local sources, including the yet to be well established Sugar mill at Komenda for the production of raw sugar for the Refinery and the byproducts of molasses for local gin distillers and the bagasse for power for the Sugar Mill and local areas.

His excellency ex-President JD Mahama, I am perplexed (with courtesy to my son Chairman One Wontumi, who proclaimed this correct word for surprise) that you as President of Ghana you failed to take note of the following very important details from top down;

(a) You, ex-President JD Mahama’s visited Mauritius in 2013, where you invited Omnicane Flexi Sugarcane consortium to duplicate their sugarcane technology of a refinery, a sugar mill, bagasse power plant for electric power or energy and a bioethanol distillery by reportedly investing US$250 million over five years in Savelugu, in the northern part of Ghana. The investment was to include cultivation of sugarcane on about 20,000 hectares of land to produce 800,000 tons of sugarcane for the Sugar Mill. So based on the expected yield of sugarcane in Ghana of 40tons per hectare and the acknowledgement that 100 tons of sugarcane gives 15 tons of pure sugar, so the expected 800,000 tons of sugarcane will produce of 120,000 tons (800,000 tons of sugarcane divided by 100tons x 15tons) raw sugar otherwise ethanol for the export to the European Union. I am sure, you may say lack of funds was the cause of not getting this project through. But, I let me today add my voice to the report of Dr Kwesi Botchwey that your then administration and not the good NDC Party lacked people with critical mind. (There was lack of critical thinking or proper appreciation on what to do due, when faced with scarce resources). Note the Double track system in the Educational system adopted by the Show boy (Nana Addo Dankwa) was a well thought and God send system for the free SHS education to buy time as well as make funds available for other National needs, whilst working hard to reduce or abolish this temporary system. Sir, with the problem of population expansion or explosion, there will always be schools under trees or is it trees under schools, so you can only reduce them but would not be able to eliminate them.

The 2010 report by the Ghana Investments Promotion Centre of plans to initially invest US$100million in a Sugar Refinery processing Factory or Plant at Tema within the Free Zone enclave by Cargill International. Cargill Int. is a Swiss company which is one of the Companies for

the production of chocolates. The Cargill International Sugar Refinery Factory or Plant was estimated to have an initial capacity of refining 450,000 tons of Raw Sugar from India and Brazil. It was very clear to the NDC Administration of the late President Mill’s, under which you were the Vice President of Ghana that Cargill International had the plan to convert the Komenda and Asutsuare factories at a later date into very small-scale units to produce ethanol or grade alcohol from Sugar cane, corn or potato or sorghum or beetroot etc. Please sir, note that Cargill International proclaimed in 2010 to then NDC regime, (partly under your watch) that by their technical studies, it was not economically viable to venture into sugar-cane plantations locally. And that by comparative advantage, the Company could help Ghana reduce the cost of importation of high priced pure sugar and also create limited employment for Ghanaians by the importation of raw material or raw sugar to feed their proposed Sugar processing Refinery plant to be located in Tema.

2007 or previous attempts of His excellency ex-President JA Kofour to court the support of the Brazilian government to offer a US$260 million loan to Northern Sugar Resources, a private firm in Ghana, to establish a sugarcane plantation and ethanol processing plant in Northern Ghana (now North East Ghana). This included the area of Savelugu, was to make ethanol as Ghana’s fourth largest exporter. This was based on findings that a tributary of the Volta River in the north-eastern part of Ghana, could provide water for adequate irrigation of sugarcane farms to produce over 75 % of sugarcane yield as achieved in some zones in Brazil.

It was sad that you, (HEJDM) from the North, and one time as the Head of State, Head of Government and one time as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana for that matter somebody who once held comprehensive Executive Power in Ghana failed to use the above technical information for the construction of the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam to kill three birds with one stone.

The killing of bird number one, should have involved or should involve the arrest of the perennial or frequent or nearly yearly flooding of some parts of the North that led to the death of hundreds of our northern brothers and sisters and destruction of their assets including farms and animals at the affected areas. Secondly, the killing of Bird number two, that is unemployment and or the migration of our people from the North to the South during the lean season by providing them with an efficient irrigation system for the irrigation of over 50, 000 hectares of arable land for cultivation of cash crop including rice or sugarcane etc depending on the comparative advantage.

Lastly, the killing of Bird number three, by averting or reduce dumsor or high cost of electricity power by the addition of cheap hydroelectric power to the National Grid.

I understand the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam has been in the books of National Development Plan since the great Dr Nkrumah’s era and there were some attempts by both the PNP (CCP root) administration of His excellency the late ex-President Dr Hila Liman and that of NPP administration of His excellency ex-President JA Kofour to construct the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam. Thanks to Almighty Allah for the Show boy (His Excellency President Nana Addo) to replace you as the Head of Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ghana, God

willing the Show boy would construct the Pwalugu Multipurpose Dam for it to become a reality in our time, as part of our prayers to make the North a food basket, thus help Ghana to reduce the high level of unemployment in Ghana and generate revenue for the Nation.

His Excellency I am herein agreeing with Dr Okoe Boye, a former MP for Teshie and other areas that every Head of State must be guided by the principles of comparative advantage, to which I am adding the location theory that is the explanation of why particular economic activities choose to establish themselves in particular areas. Sir, your lacked of people with critical thinking as then, the Head of State of Ghana to appreciate that Sugar is the third if not the fourth heavily imported commodity after rice and chicken, so due to scarce funding resources you should have spent your tenure of Office to see how best you should have reversed or reduced the importation of Rice or and Chicken and not much on sugar due to problems encountered with Dr Nkrumah’s Komenda and Asutsuare Sugar Factories. Also the Pwalagu Tomatoes Factory (which was revived to produce tomatoes paste during the era of ex-President Kofour and the era of the late President Mill, partly under your watch but failed to survive for even six months, hence no wonder your Komenda Sugar Factory also did not last six months), the issue of our Guinea Fowls still in Burkina Faso, and lastly the massive thievery at Tema Oil Refinery since Ghana took it over from Ente Nationale Indrocarbrui (ENI) of Italy, due to our attitude should informed you to look for private investors like what the Show boy is doing with his One District One Factory.

His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, you have really disappointed the people of Ghana. So your attempt to swindle (trick) the members of the great NDC Party to think that you were cheated in the 2020 Presidential Election for them to once again elect you as the Presidential Candidate for the great NDC Party of the late Papa J is not the best for Ghana, because from your posture and the seemingly lack of appreciation that Election are won at the Polling Stations, as stipulated in the 1992 Constitution and that the Chairperson of the EC only declares the Presidential election by a gazette upon the receipt and computation of the results sent by electronic to the Headquarters, so I am afraid you may not be prepared to accept the results if you happen to lose the election for the third time (that is in three consecutive times) hence likely mayhem in Ghana in 2024.

His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, I recommend you work to remain as a good statesman like your good friend Ex-President Jonathan Goodluck of Nigeria, who is being used for international assignment by his opponent in the 2015 Presidential election in Nigeria, then candidate Buhari and now His Excellency President Buhari.

Due to Ex-President Jonathan Goodluck’s Statesmanlike composure or qualities, he is rather being courted to cross carpet from his Party to the Ruling Party of President Buhari, as the likely candidate on the ticket of the APC Party to compete in the next Presidential Election for Nigeria so as to take over from President Buhari. So please stop your ranting and kill your Presidential ambition and support the magnificent Dr Kwabena Donkor, a selfless economic guru, a former Minister of Finance and former Governor of Bank of Ghana to contest with a likely former Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana in the person of the Vice President of Ghana, His Excellency Dr Alhaji Bawumia (the Walewale Adam Smith).

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