WAMCO back to life…to test run operations in the next two weeks
Maintenance work is progressing steadily at the West African Mills Company Limited (WAMCO) a cocoa processing factory located in Takoradi after three years of no production.
Series of work have been undertaken to get the factory operational – these are cleaning, testing, inspection, repairs and restoration.
Currently, the company has submitted a request to COCOBOD to do a test run with raw materials in the next two weeks and that the company can receive cocoa beans any time from now since production begins in September this year.
Mr. Frank Bednar, Deputy Managing Director of WMACO announced that the company will be receiving cocoa beans from COCOBOD to initiate the process.
He mentioned these when the Member of Parliament of Takoradi and Deputy Minister for Aviation, Dr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah and the media toured the company’s premises in Takoradi to assess the current situation before work begins next month.
He said over 30 workers have been engaged and are busy with the maintenance phase in dismantling the equipment, flushing, cleaning, testing as well as assembling and that the initial processes are expected to be completed by the end of this week.
According to Mr. Bednar production will be done gradually – the technical conditions of the various plant is different to support mass production; the liquor plant will be put into operation until other works are completed in the factory.
“During the test-run, some minor issues are expected to pop up when the machinery is working, therefore, we have scheduled two-three months for trial production” he added
He disclosed that production on the expeller lines will begin in the next three months provided COCOBOD supplies the company with cocoa beans as they have been assured us.
He expressed confidence in commitment made by COCOBOD- this indicates that WAMCO-I will be fully operational by the end of 2017.
Dr. Kwabena Okeyere Darko-Mensah, MP for Takoradi expressed satisfaction in the work done by WAMCO in getting the factory revitalized.
“Government is committed in creating jobs for the citizens and that the factory has the potential to impact on the economic fortunes of households in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis and the Western Region as a whole since every two or three houses you will find a worker from WAMCO”, he added.
WAMCO, is set up as a joint venture between the Ghana COCOBOD and German Investor, Chocolate Confectionary Company.
It comprises of three factories, expeller plant, cocoa liquor plant and hydraulic press plant. The expeller plant and cocoa liquor plants are in WAMCO I and the other Hydraulic Press Plant is in WAMCO II.
The expeller plant employs the method for extraction of butter from the cocoa beans and the crude butter extracted is purified, deodorized and packed with a brand name.
On the cocoa liquor plant, roasted cocoa beans are sorted and the nibs milled into a fine paste. The paste is sterilized, cooled by a tempering machine and blocked as natural cocoa liquor.
The hydraulic press plant employs the hydraulic pressing method for the extraction of butter from the cocoa beans. The crude butter is purified and either cooled and packed as natural cocoa butter.