Akuapem Gold Agro Processing Company Limited (AGAPCo), an avocado processing entity established under the one district, one factory (1D1F) initiative, has hinted of the heavy investment made into its raw material base to ensure security in raw material base when full capacity production begins.
According to management of the company, for every processing factory to stand the test of time, a key component in that loop is availability of raw materials in abundance to ensure constant supply for production.
To ensure that Akuapem Gold is not caught up in this web, management has invested heavily in avocado farming to ensure regular and all year-round production.
With about 28,000 acres of land secured for raw material production and about 600 acres fully cultivated in the Amotare community at Begoro in the Eastern Region, as well as several other outsourced out-growers on board, management is convinced that raw material would be in abundance to feed the factory when production begins.
“We have a huge land area already under cultivation. Usually avocado takes three to five years to start fruiting but the best agronomic practices we have put in place coupled with the ‘Hass’ variety we acquired from Kenya, has made it possible for ours to start fruiting in less than two years and this is an indication of the good investments we making here.
We also have a nursery that can feed about 1000 acres of land, so if we overcome the little land litigation challenges that we are having with some of our lands, then we can develop some extra 5,000 acres of land and offer another 15,000 acres to out growers,” Chairman of Akuapem Gold Agro Processing, Albert Kwame Wilson said.
Furthermore, he added that, technical expertise is the most important requirement to embark on such a business venture, and the company has some of the best human resource in that sector in the country on board to manage operations.
The company, which is geared toward the industrial production of avocado oil for export and domestic consumption has an installed capacity for processing 110,000 tonnes of avocado seed per day for oil production and 13,000 tonnes per day capacity for sorting seed size, as well as 300-400 metric tonnes of avocado fruit packaging per day for export.
Beyond the production of avocado oil and fresh fruits export, AGAPCo’s production line also include butter, avocado drinks, animal feed, and medicinal product, among others.
“We are cultivating the ‘Hass’ variety of avocado from Kenya because in the global avocado industry that has the most superior characteristics and in terms of oil-to-seed ratio, it is very high. The fruit is not as big as our local variety but the seed inside is huge and the oil content in the seed is the highest. So, every commercial entity will be interested in optimizing their oil extraction rate and that is why we borrowed from the Kenyans,” he said.
The company is taking international standardization to its utmost level by ensuring it achieves its aim of exporting to the international market, processes to meet all international standardization inculcated into the grand plan from the beginning. This, management has hinted that all documentations and requirements has been met successfully for production to commence by end of September 2021.
With Kenya gaining acknowledgement as the leading producer of avocado, AGAPCo sent its technical team to Kenya to understudy their system and benchmark the operations of the company with that.