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Blumberg Grain Makes Ghana A Finalist For West African Manufacturing Hub

The Investor (PDF download)

The Ghanaian government has received news of an impending investment decision to possibly locate a multi-million dollar Manufacturing Plant and Export Hub here in Ghana from the world acclaimed agricultural warehousing giant Blumberg Grain.

The Investor InternationalChairman and CEO, Philip Blumberg, Director and Vice-President, David Blumberg, and Senior Vice President, Christian Rath made the disclosure in Accra during their latest visit to Ghana.

Ghana’s economic progress and political stability have attracted them to hold discussions with Ghanaian officials as well as conduct assessments ahead of the Hub determination date which is by the close of this month.

Other finalists include Nigeria, Namibia, and Angola.

The West African Manufacturing Plant and Export Hub will be the base to manufacture Blumberg Grain’s state-of-the- art warehouse systems for distribution across the entire sub-continent.

If Ghana is selected, the Blumberg Grain Hub would employ over 1,000 Ghanaians, generate USD 1.25 billion in sales/export, increasing Ghana’s GDP by 3 percent, and house an agricultural institute that provides programming on best practices in agricultural development.

Blumberg’s investment will make the winning country the major agribusiness center in the sub-continent. Ghana is in contention with sister African economies, but Blumberg’s CEO, Philip Blumberg, said he was impressed with Ghanaian Minister of Food and Agriculture, Mr. Kwesi Ahoi’s response, with whom he had personal contact during his 5-day visit.

Mr. Blumberg noted, “Minister Ahwoi has passion, an understanding of the business of agriculture, and a strong desire to see Ghana transformed into a vibrant and critical agricultural commune. Minister Ahwoi introduced us to his team in Accra, who were extremely impressive as well, both in their technical knowledge and their vision for a comprehensive system for Ghana”, describing the response as, “extremely impressive.”

Speaking about Ghana, the Blumberg team noted that this country is a good place for the Hub as according to them Ghana’s Minister is committed to working within the political system to achieve for Ghanaian farmers improvement and support. “He’s very focused on that. And that makes a difference to us because it means not only do we have ministerial support, but we also have a government advocate for the center. I was very encouraged by that.”

The final selection for the Hub country will be based on objective criteria, like the availability of a suitable site, material inputs, and standard non-cash incentives. It is also important that the Hub country be a user of Blumberg Grain technology domestically. Vice President and Director, David Blumberg explained, “We expect the countries we select to be customer countries. We’re not going to invest significant capital to build a Hub in a country that’s not a customer of our system. We have had a favorable response from the Ghanaian government about utilizing our system to improve the agricultural sector. And one of your most progressive companies here – Sub-Sahara Commodities – has an ambitious plan, which includes utilizing our system both here in Ghana and regionally.”

The Sub-Sahara Commodities project includes the establishment of a 300,000 metric ton capacity warehouse system for grains in the country, as well as development of a 1,500 acre commercial farm in Juapong, which, when completed, would be the largest commercial farm in the county.

Sub-Sahara Commodities, who will ultimately be investing USD 45 million in the state-of the-art warehouse infrastructure to be located in four regions of the country (Eastern, Volta, Brong Ahafo & Upper West), will also receive a USD 7 million Blumberg Capital as equity in Sub-Sahara Commodities.

Richard Kokoih said his company is working with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture on receiving the news to meet some of the conditions for the selection of Ghana as a host country for the Blumberg Grain Manufacturing Plant and Export Hub.

Once a country determination is made, Blumberg Grain will invest a minimum USD 30 million in the establishment of the Hub over the next year, which has potential market size of around USD 6 billion across the West African Region. Ultimately, the propagation and utilization of the technology/products produced by Blumberg Grain will enable the creation of a sub-Saharan commodity exchange platform, with Ghana serving as the nexus for such advancements if selected as the Hub country.

David Blumberg explained the effects of such technology by saying, “What does that do? It evens out a country’s food supply. It allows you to export at a more lucrative time in the market. It allows one to pay farmers a higher price because you know you won’t have losses on storage, so farmers benefit. And most importantly for farmers, it means that instead of having 60-70% of their crop available to sell, they can sell 95-100%. So the farmers, without taking one more acre under of plow, can generate 30-35% more income. Farmers in Ghana should be exporting their crops and selling commercially. They should be making a very good living, and this is the system that will help.”

Further, the Blumberg Grain system is the only one flexible enough in the world to diversify with the farmer. If the farmer decides that he wants to plant different products (start producing perishables instead of grains), the system can accommodate the storage of that product.

Dr. Kokoih, who is also the founder of Sub-Sahara Commodities, said in an interview with Ghanaian journalists, “the overall plan is a great one that will transform the entire agricultural landscape in Ghana and Sub-Saharan Africa.”

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