Kumasi, Oct.13, GNA - The Chemical Engineering Department of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is establishing a Centre for Extractive Technologies to research into and extract active ingredients in medicinal plants for export.
The Centre will bring a team of scientists and engineers from the Biochemistry, Chemistry, Chemical engineering, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Herbal medicine to undertake research in biomass extraction and purification of the active ingredients to enhance the export revenue of essential oils and medicinal plants for the non-traditional exporters. The Export Development Investment Fund (EDIF) is providing a grant facility of 297,500 dollars to the Department to establish the Centre. Mr T.K Obeng, Chief Executive of EDIF, presenting a cheque for the Centre at KNUST on Thursday, said the Fund which became operational in March 2001 had mobilized 440 billion cedis by the end of August this year.
He said the Credit Facility Account under the Fund had mobilized 360 billion cedis, while the Export Development and Promotion Facility Account of which the university had been able to access the grant, had mobilized 80 billion cedis.
Mr Obeng said establishment of the Centre at the university would impact positively on the country's export trade in medicinal plants and boost the incomes of stakeholders in the sector.
He asked the university to take advantage of the Fund to expose its research capabilities to help transform the non-traditional export sector of the economy.
Professor Kwesi Andam, Vice Chancellor of KNUST, said the university was pursuing an agenda that would help propel the country's economy into an emerging one.
He said the university had the capacity to carry out the objectives of which the facility had been granted and said the university would continue to partner EDIF to propel the growth of the export sector. Professor Andam appealed to other corporate organizations to partner the university to promote the growth and promotion of industry in the country.
Dr B. Adu-Amankwa, the Project Director, said many non-traditional industries in Ghana were exporting raw seeds, leaves, bark of trees and roots to Europe and Americas at low prices. He said the Centre would help add value to these medicinal plants to increase revenue for the nation.
Dr Adu-Amankwa said the Centre would also be used as teaching tools for students to research into medicinal plants, demonstration for traditional herbalists in herbal extractive industry and as income generation for extraction, pilot plant process and establishment of export oriented non-traditional industry in Ghana.