Construction of an onion factory is expected to begin in Bazua in the Binduri District of the Upper East Region under the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy of government.
The factory will be set up by a Ghanaian-owned Northern Industrial Onion Processing Company in collaboration with a company in China.
The factory when completed will reduce onion rots and also increase production from farmers in the three regions of the north.
The Upper East Region produces 85 per cent of the total onion production in Ghana.
The crop thrives in dry soil and low humidity. An estimated 75 per cent of onions are produced in the dry season. However, there is a domestic supply deficit which is being met through imports.
The consumption of onions is increasing in Ghana with the market growing at an estimated 11 per cent per annum.
As a result, onion production is sustainable into the future as it will continue to deliver good value to smallholder farmers involved in its production.
Northern Ghana has a competitive advantage in onion production with more than 20,000 households in growing the vegetable in the dry season for cash.
Onion is a high labour-demanding crop with substantial employment creation opportunities.
Industrial activity in the Upper East Region is generally low with only one industry – the newly built cotton gunnery at Pusu-Namongo (near Bolgatanga) – in operation at the moment.
Other existing industries are the Tomato Canning Factory (GIHOC) at Pwalugu, the Meat Processing Factory (GIHOC) at Zuarungu and the Rice Mills at Bolgatanga.
These three factories are not operational and have been earmarked for divestiture.
The two forms of extractive activities in the Region are mining and quarrying. While the latter is being actively exploited the same cannot be said about the former. There are two commercial quarries in the Region namely, the Upper Quarry Limited located at Pwalugu on the Bolgatanga-Tamale road and the Granites and Marbles Company Limited located in Tongo.
For this reason, the establishment of the onion factory will come as a boost to trade in the Region. Fifteen acres of land have been earmarked for the project at Bazua.
3news.com visited the area to find out more about the positive impacts the factory will bring when completed.
A farmer, who has been farming vegetables for the past 20 years and is among farmers who farm along the Black Volta, said in KUSAL language that there is no ready market for the onions and they incur losses, transporting the onions to the southern part of Ghana.
He said when the onion factory is completed, there will be relief to them because of the ready market the project will create.
The Chief Executive Officer of Northern Industrial Onion Processing Company, Alex Avoka, said the ‘One District, One Factory’ policy by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has motivated him to start with the establishment of the onion factory and more importantly the over 3,000 direct and indirect jobs that will be created when production begins.
Mr Avoka said branding of the onions will be a priority for his company.
He said onion pastes will be produced in sachets and cans to give it an international touch.
3news.com spoke to some women who trade in onions in Bazua.
They said the establishment of the factory will reduce poverty in the Region and also help farmers to cultivate more onions which will then have a positive yield.
A bag of onion currently costs GH¢ 90 during the dry season and about GH¢ 120 in the raining season.
By Rabiu Tanko Mohammed|3news.com|Ghana