Industry bitten hard by Ghana’s energy crisis

The operations of leading cocoa processing company, ADM Cocoa (Ghana) Limited are badly hampered by shortages in electricity and gas supplies to power its processing plant.

According to Production Manager, John Scot Donkor, the company has been forced to intermittently cease production as a result of difficulties in accessing liquefied petroleum gas.

“When ECG fails, we have to fall on our generators… since Saturday, we are down; we are not producing because we don’t have gas. It is a big challenge”, he told visiting members of the Agro Mindset Organisation at the KNUST.

ADM Cocoa’s multi-million dollar processing plant at Kaase in Kumasi was opened in 2009 to provide semi-finished cocoa products from a single source. The plant has the capacity to process over 30,000 metric tonnes of cocoa beans into cocoa liquor for export.

The site covers some 75,000 square meters and comprises a bean warehouse, a processing plant and a finished goods warehouse.

Mr. Scot Donkor lamented that resorting to fuel powered generators has increased cost of production yet the company is unable to increase price at which it sells to clients, which is negatively affecting profits margins.

The ADM Cocoa is one of the most modern agricultural value chain processing plants in Ghana, working with some of the most sophisticated equipment available in the industry.

The learning visit by the AgroMindset Organization was part of activities to encourage more young people to take up careers within the agricultural value chain.

“Such learning visits help make the young people understand the fact that that regardless of your academic background, in either engineering or ICT or accountancy or any other field, you can still find space somewhere in the agricultural value chain to apply your skill for the betterment of this sector which is the driving force behind our economy”, said Joseph Opoku Gakpo, the immediate past Vice-President of the organization.

He however described as worrying government’s failure to resolve the energy crisis to make gas and electricity available for the powering of industries.

“It’s not all companies that have funds in buffer to continue absorbing higher cost of operations resulting from increase in cost of power, nor would have the money to continue keeping workers on their pay roll even in times of non production. If this power crisis is not fixed, loss of industrial jobs could become the order of the day, and I’m sure in other companies this is already happening”, stated Mr. Gakpo.

He called on government, the National Petroleum Authority, Electricity Company of Ghana and other stakeholders to sit up in resolving the challenges with gas and electricity supply in the country as soon as possible.

Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh