The Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) has made a commitment to advance financial support to Ekumfi Fruits and Juice (Ekumfi F&J) to enable the company build a stronger and more resilient raw materials base to keep production at 100 percent.
Recent reports point to Ekumfi F&J’s inability to meet market demand due to a reduction in its production capacity. Management of the company explained that because its production is 100 percent natural fruit with no additives, the extreme change in climatic conditions this year – such as a long drought – has affected production of raw materials; i.e., pineapple fruit.
Management of ADB stated that Ekumfi therefore called for financial assistance from the bank, and upon accessing the company’s capital facilities, production capacity and developmental plans, it was convinced to support the good work of the first One District, One Factory (1D1F) organisation.
Head of Agric Value-Chain Finance Department at the bank, Lawrence Dankyi-Ansong, indicated that with support from its partners it has prepared a capital expenditure facility for the company that will go into procurement of machinery and equipment to develop about 5,000 acres of land for pineapple production, and provide irrigation to the farms.
“About 70 percent of their cost of production depends upon land development, and so we are financing that; and also financing an irrigation scheme for them to construct a dam that will supply regular water to the farms. We are also financing vehicles that will be needed both on the farm and to cart raw materials to the factory,” he said.
Managing Director of Ekumfi F&J, Frederick Kobbyna Acquaah, said the company currently has 21 farm sites for pineapple production: 15 existing ones and six new ones. The 15 existing ones, he noted, are undergoing expansion while the new ones are being developed.
“There has been some negative reportage that the factory has shut down or is not in operation any longer among others, but that is not true. A production like natural juice without adding anything else – just picking from nature and delivering to clients – will have some challenges like climate effects and others, but that doesn’t mean we have shut down,” he said.
He added that the product line of the factory includes Pine-Ginja, Pine-Tropic, Pineapple, Tropic-Ginger and a new one, Pine-Melon Ginja, is about to hit the market. Ekumfi is also about to produce Shandy Beer from its by-products.
The company took its distributors and staff of ADB on a facility tour to analyse for themselves what the factory management is doing for sustainability of production, and to decide for themselves if it has the ability to give them returns on investment.