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06.10.2004 Business & Finance

Tomato processing factory opened in Tema.

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Tema, Oct. 6,GNA -- The Senior Minister, Mr J. H Mensah, has given the assurance that the New Patriotic Party government would continue to pursue macro-economic policies that would further enhance the attractiveness of Ghana's investment.

He, however, expressed the hope that with this government's policy of public-private partnership, answers to some of the nation's most difficult handicaps in national development could be found.

"These handicaps are the typical hallmarks of under-development, and we share them with dozens of other third world countries", he added. The Senior Minister was opening the Trusty Foods Ltd, (TFL) a Tomato Processing Factory in Tema, on behalf of the President. The Russo family, the largest tomato producer and processor in Italy, owns TFL.

Mr Mensah commended the Russo family for such an initiative, and added that the factory, which currently has 128 employees, all being Ghanaians, when fully developed, could process over six million tonnes of fresh tomato fruits every year with that supply coming from the Ghanaian tomato farmer.

He was optimistic that the conservation and processing of a substantial part of the nation's tomato output would also help eliminate the heavy losses which are borne uneconomically short shelf-life and the international unacceptability of our canned tomatoes.

The Senior Minister expressed concern about the apathy and general poor work ethic of some Ghanaian workers, which, according to him, has led some investors to form very negative images, and adopt inhumane attitudes towards workers.

He, however, urged the workers to work loyally to help the factory to become an industrial giant in the entire ECOWAS sub-region as well.

Mr Mensah encouraged the management of TFL to maintain the culture of high productivity and discipline among its employees and staff, and stressed the need for them to be humane and just in their relations with everybody including its staff, customers, as well as suppliers.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Allan Kyeremanteng, said the initiative by the Russo family is an excellent example of investment needed in the country, and urged all to support it to help bring Ghana's label in the international light.

He also encouraged Ghanaian entrepreneurs and businessmen to open up to foreign investments and to take the call of exporting Ghanaian products seriously.

The Minster of Food and Agriculture, Major Courage Quashigah (Rtd), expressed his happiness about the establishment of a tomato factory in the country, and said this is going to help solve the problem of tomatoes getting rotten during the bumper season.

He talked about the way tomatoes were stored in the olden days, and stressed the need for Ghanaians to take up the challenge to, at least improve upon that knowledge, to save the country from importing products, which could be manufactured here.

In his welcoming address, the Chairman of TFL, Mr Walter Russo, said TFL in Italy processes over 500,000 tonnes of fresh tomatoes with distribution channels all over the world.

He said the Company, in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture from November this year would embark on a number of projects which would involve the introduction and provision of new technology for the production of special industrial tomatoes, equipment, machinery and technical experts.

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