4 Million jobs created in sachet water trade
Water packaging industry is fast becoming the country’s main employment provider, creating about four million jobs in the last five years, National Association of Sachet and Packaged Water Producers has said.
This has forced more job seekers to find solace in the sachet and bottling water business that is seen as the fastest growing sector of the economy.
The employment numbers
At the moment the 10 major players in the sachet water business operate in the Accra and Tema region and employ more than two million people directly and indirectly..
Among the big players in sector are Everpure, Standard, Bel Aqua, Voltic, Mobile water and Aqua fill natural mineral water with each averagely employing about 2000 workers including those along the value chain including distributors and retailers..
Accra alone has 3000 more sachet water producers and other 3,000 in parts of the country operating on a smaller scale.
Analysts estimate the number jobs created in the sachet water industry could exceed four million.
Everpure, for instance, which produces an average of 600,000 bags of sachet water every month, is planning to export purified water to the Middle East.
Managing Director of Everpure, Mr Peter Narh plans to capture a sizeable part of the Middle East markets with quality jug and bottled water produced in Ghana.
‘We want to start exporting to Dubai and elsewhere with quality drinking water from Ghana with a wide range of products to meet the different tastes in the market,’ he said in a telephone interview.
‘Our products come in 60cL, 1.5L and 18.9L bottles, as well as in the 500mL sachet, which is a better value proposition’, he said.
Everpure currently has 685 employees on its payroll for both the Kumasi and Tema plants. Both plants have 70 private truck owners who have about 210 people along the value chain.
This works to about 2000 by Everpure alone, which is planning a major expansion of its plant and machinery which means the potential to employ.
The other producers employ more than the 2000 that Everpure employs. Some of them have directly engaged about 100,000 excluding those in the value chain. It is estimated that those in the value chain of mobile water brand exceed 400,000.
Considering the large number of sachet water producers, which is in the region of 3000 for Accra and Tema alone, analysts say the four million figure is underestimated looking at the growing number of sachet water producers.
President of the National Association of Sachet and Packaged Water Producers, Mr Magnus Nunoo is upbeat adding to the 100,000 workforce employed by his company, mobile water.
Mr Nunoo, who is an Economist by training has found value in his industry’s waste, and is now a proponent of commercial-scale plastic waste management.
For Blow-Chem, producers of Bel Aqua Mineral Water, has invested US$2,300,000 in infrastructure to position the product as bottled water of choice both in terms of competitive pricing and quality.
‘Water is essential for life; it is at the core of nutrition and, therefore, health. Bel Aqua Water has developed an outstanding expertise in bottled water. This expertise extends from quality preservation to knowledge on its health benefits to making different formats available that respond to the different hydration needs of consumers,’ the company said.
Mr Manoj J. Lakhiani, the Chairman of the company, said, that ‘it took the management of Blow-Chem a year to come out with Bel Aqua because we didn’t want to produce an ordinary bottled water as we know the essence of water to a healthy life; we wanted to be one step ahead in terms of quality, which we have done through teamwork and thorough research’, according to a Daily Graphic report.
In that regard, he said, the company had so far spent over $50,000 on equipment made up of highly sophisticated machines/facilities for its laboratory.
The company said for Bel Aqua, quality could not only rely on the original quality of the water.
‘Throughout the entire production chain, from packaging to the finished product, every step is checked by a battery of tests to guarantee that it [the water] conforms to the highest standards before it is sent off to consumers. Our production plant has its own laboratory, which allows them [the workers] to carry out rigorous tests regularly.’
But the challenge for the industry is the high tariff charges, which industry captains say makes the playing field uneven.
According to Mr Narh, despite the increasing number of players in the sachet business in the country, water is still imported from elsewhere which does not attract levies as the local water producers.
Country Manager of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Head of the Sustaining Responsible and Competitive Enterprise in Ghana, Mr Kwamina Amoasi-Andoh said sachet water producers are playing important roles in complimenting the job creation drive of the government.
‘Manufacturing in Ghana is dying and as a government, you can’t help all of them at a go so you find clusters that can export and bring in foreign exchange’, Mr Amoasi-Andoh said.
The ILO country boss identified water processing, pharmaceuticals and Aluminum as the main clusters that can rake in enough foreign exchange for the country.
‘If we have five companies and each is exporting five boxes a week and each box is five – six dollars per box, we can imagine the foreign income we will be getting’, he said in an interview.
Mr Amoasi-Andoh whose is assisting small and medium scale enterprises implement that Sustaining Responsible and Competitive Enterprise (SCORE) in Ghana.
The urban areas in the country lag in the provision of piped water to residents living the sachet water producers to fill the gap as an important source of drinking water.
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