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04.08.2005 Business & Finance

Government to establish salt terminal for export

GNA

Accra Aug. 4, GNA - Government is exploring ways to establish a salt terminal that would facilitate the export of the commodity to major markets in the West African Sub-Region and beyond.

Mr Moses Dani-Baah, Deputy Minister for Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative (PSI) announced on Thursday. "Government with the support of the financial institutions, would make the best efforts to explore avenues for the needed financial interventions to ensure the transformation of the salt industry in Ghana."

Speaking at the opening of a day's workshop on Modern Solar Salt Production Technology in Accra, he said a strategic alliance was also being established with major world producing countries such as Brazil, Venezuela and Spain to facilitate the acquisition of technology and technical know-how in salt production.

About 50 participants from salt-producing companies attended the workshop that was under the theme: "Increasing Industry Productivity Through the State of Art Technology".

Topics discussed included "Feasibility Study in Solar Salt": "Design and Construction for Salt Works"; "Harvesting and Post-Harvesting Handling Techniques in Salt Production".

Mr Dani-Baah said the potential of salt production had not been tapped over the years and stressed the need to make it one of the major foreign exchange earners.

He said Ghana was envisaging an increase in the production from the 200,000 tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes in the next five years. "It is also expected that a viable chloro-alkali industry would be developed in the medium term period thus generating employment for about 50,000 people."

The Deputy Minister said in line to boost salt production, six main production zones had been identified - Keta; Ketu; Dangbe East; Dangbe West; Weija; Gomoa- Awutu-Effutu; Mfansiman and Ahanta areas. He mentioned lack of expertise and funds, low yielding production methods, land acquisition and land tenure administration as some of the constraints facing the salt industry.

Mr Dani-Baah said the PSI on salt was addressing some of the constraints in order to enhance production and to transform the industry into an internationally competitive one.

He said the Government was, therefore, supporting and contributing to the establishment of about 30 companies with medium scale operation with production capacity of about 100 tonnes per annum.

"Government is assisting in the establishment of small-size community-based and professionally managed salt production units in the Keta and Ada lagoon basin, Apam and Elmina. Fish farming will also be promoted as an additional source of income at this level." He mentioned specialised-training programmes in salt harvesting and fish farming to be organised for vulnerable groups at community levels as part of measures put in place by government to boost the salt production.

Under the national programme for universal idolization, the Deputy Minister said Ghana along with her neighbours were expected to attain more than 90 per cent utilisation of iodised salt in households by the end of 2005.

"It is, therefore, important that we fully embrace the national crusade of attaining universal salt iodisation by 2005," Mr Dani-Baah said. He reminded them of the ban of the use of non-iodised salt, which took effect on July 1 2005 saying efforts were being made to ensure the ban was enforced.

Mr Hector Teruel Bullido, a UNIDO Expert in Salt Technology and Consultant, said Ghana was producing 300,000 tonnes of salt annually adding that the potential capacity could be increased to more than two million tonnes annually.

Mr Bullido, who is also a Marine Biologist, said Ghana had a good climatic condition that facilitated the production of salt and urged the public to keep the environment at salt banks clean.

He noted that Ghana's consumption of salt was only 20 per cent of production saying there was the potential to increase salt production for glass, aluminium and garment producing firms.

Mr Bullido urged participants to produce the big and transparent crystal salt, which according to him did not contain much impurity and sold better on the international market.

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