The German Development Agency (GIZ) and the Kasapreko Company Limited have launched an initiative to increase the local production of affordable hand sanitizers.
Together with Total Family Health Organisation, an affiliate of the USAID, the “Local Production of Sanitizers from Cassava Ethanol” project was established to meet the high demand for sanitizers induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and to address price increases.
Mr Jasper Sablah, Technical Advisor, developPPP Health, said the initiative would help increase the number of cassava farmers supplying to Caltech, the main producer of cassava-based ethanol, which is a base for hand sanitizer production.
He said Caltech, a subsidiary of Kasapreko, would benefit from an enhancement of its ethanol production capacity, towards increasing sanitizer production at Kasapreko.
Mr Sablah said under the project, a total of 460 farmers were equipped with good cultivation skills for the highest possible yields.
They also received training materials and tools and would be provided with more farming tools to improve practice, yields, and incomes.
Rev. Isaac Adza Tettey, Volta Regional Economic Planning Officer, noted that the initiative was an “important step for Ghana to increase local production capacities for sanitizers and reduce dependence on imports.
“In crises, where shortages could occur, we will be able to rely on our local production and make sanitizers affordable to the masses.
Dr Holger Till, develoPPP for Health and GIZ Team Lead underscored the benefits of not only income for farmers, but also good health, as the project sought to offer free medical screening for beneficiaries.
“Only a healthy farmer is a productive farmer. Partnerships between the private sector and public sector where business opportunities and development initiatives intersect is an important vehicle to foster sustainable development,” he said.
Mr Francis Holly, the Director for International Business at Kasapreko, said the company adjusted to sanitizer production to deflect some damage caused by the coronavirus.
He said it had managed to lead the charge for local sanitizer supply and upgraded its facility to produce 135,000 bottles per hour.
The Director said its partnership with the GIZ would offer a lifeline to the production of the essentials in the country.
Mr Kwaku Sakyi, Manager of Caltech, said the Company produced less than one per cent of the 18 million-dollar annual ethanol demand in Ghana.
He said it was promoting out-grower farming to add to its 3,000-hectare growing field located near the production facility at Hodzo in the Ho Municipality.
He indicated Caltech had received support under government’s flagship One District, One Factory initiative.
Mr Prosper Pi-Bansah, Ho Municipal Chief Executive (DCE), said the water crisis facing the Municipality affected production at Caltech and appealed to stakeholders to look to it.
“Caltech treks almost every day to Ho for water,” he said.
The DCE promised to support farmers in the Municipality, saying “I think that peasant farmers deserve better. Workshops would help them improve their yields. They must be given bonuses and motivated to produce more to feed the factory.”
GIZ, during the launch, donated gallons of hand sanitizers, and dispensers to the regional agriculture and education directorates.