Nana Konadu: Nsawam Cannery will bring national development

31 10 2010

Nana Konadu Agyeman-RawlingsPRESS RELEASE

Former First Lady and President of the 31st December Women’s Movement (DWM), Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings says the newly commissioned Nsawam Cannery will bring employment and socio-economic development to the country.

Nana Konadu said the cannery represents hope for the youth and is evidence of the sense of perseverance of all who in diverse ways helped to return it to production.

Speaking at the commissioning of the new cannery last Friday, Nana Konadu said the cannery currently employs 110 people and intends to employ 2000 people within two years.

The former First Lady said the driving force behind the resuscitation of the cannery was the need to continue helping women and youth who were producing fruits and vegetables that needed to be processed to prevent post-harvest losses.

The President of DWM said, “after years of assisting women to cultivate fruits and vegetables we run into the problem of post-harvest losses. The only way to cut back was to either process what they were growing, dry what they were growing, can or bottle what they were growing. We set to canning or bottling where necessary so that we could add value to the work that the women were doing to help improve on the quality of life in the communities.”

Nana Konadu said based on the realisation that harvested fruit needed to be canned or bottled, a consultant was contracted to look into the viability of purchasing the cannery when it was put on divestiture.

The report by the consultant, she said, offered several options so a bid was eventually tendered for the purchase of the cannery. Caridem Development Company established by the DWM won the bid after an eight-month bid process.

Nana Konadu and some executives of the DWM were hounded, persecuted and maligned by the Kufuor NPP regime that wrongfully accused her of not following due process in the acquisition of the dilapidated cannery.

She spent years in court defending the movement over several charges even though the movement put in a bid far higher than the six other companies who were interested in the cannery. A United States company that also bid for the cannery valued the facility at $1.

“We have been through thick and thin and today we can boast of our ability, capability, our resilience and our sheer determination to make something work when we mean to make it work,” the DWM President said.

Mrs Agyeman-Rawlings said many more people would be employed in the factory as well as farms that will feed the factory. Aside commending the factory Director, Nii Okai Adjei and his staff for the wonderful work they had done, she profusely thanked her husband and former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings who was present at the ceremony, for supporting her at each stage of her work with the DWM.

“Without him believing in me and trusting that I could perform certain roles I would not have been able to do this. He believes in the capability of women, he believes in the ability of women of Ghana and that is why he gave me the opportunity to go out sometimes for weeks organising the 31st December Women’s Movement,” the former First Lady said.

Earlier Nii Okai Adjei, the factory director had outlined the vision of the factory and said it was employing state of the art technology and hygiene techniques to ensure that all products of the company match up to the highest quality standards.

Nii Adjei said the plant is currently producing canned pineapple and will soon diversify into abenkwan, shito and garden egg canning as well as the production of wine. “We will introduce one product at a time,” he said.

The Chief of Adoagyiri, Nana Oko Anadjo Afutu Dompreh II lamented the unemployment that was created in the Akwapim South District when the Nsawam Cannery was shut down in 1991 and prayed that the new project will grow from strength to strength so many youth in the area will be gainfully employed.

Nana Dompreh commended the financiers and management of the Cannery for the effort they had put into resuscitating the cannery and counselled employees to be disciplined and punctual to work to ensure that the company succeeds. He pledged the support of the Chiefs and people of Adoagyiri to the success of the cannery.

Nana Konadu later cut a tape to officially make the factory operational.

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