By: Kebba AF Touray
First Gambian Tomato factory (GACH), has been inaugurated during the weekend at their Headquarters in Banjulunding. The factory specializes in tomato paste and mineral water production and will assist farmers by curbing the problems of post-harvest loses for tomato producers, and provide job opportunities for the citizenry.
In his welcome remarks, MD Alagi Sillla, informed the gathering that the factory is an investment for the Gambia and her people, the sub-region and Africa as a whole.
Adolf Manu, Finance Director of the Factory, said the GACH Group is incorporated to pursue opportunities in the horticulture sub-sector, through the cultivation, processing and packaging and distribution of tomato paste, in The Gambia and the sub-region.
“The idea is to empower the people, in particular youth and women folks, to venture into industrialized tomato cultivation,” he said; that it further intends to explore the advantages introduced by the ECOWAS Member States such as the ECOWAS Trade Liberation Scheme (ETLS), to access probably three million people in Western Africa.
Abubacarr Jawara, Proprietor of GACH Group and factory, informed the gathering that apart from tomato and mineral water products, the factory has the capacity to produce mango juice produce; that 75 percent of mango produced in the country is perished due lack of processing facilities; that the factory will begin to produce mango juice in the nearest future. Jawara thanked Ministries of Finance and Trade, GIEPA, GRA and all those who contributed to the success of the factory and highlighted that the Group in collaboration with FASDEP, is working in other areas, such as the construction of a water reticulation system in Gungur, Madiana, Wassadu and Kalagi, for women horticultural producers. He reiterated that their products have and will continue to meet international standards which is done and verified by the factory’s laboratory.
Vice President, Darboe in his inaugural statement, applauded the proprietor and his partners for the construction of such a landmark; that this demonstrates their love and contribution to national development and their country.
He said Government cannot do it alone; but that through collective efforts, the country can be transformed as desired. VP Darboe recalled the numerous efforts, resources and dedications made towards the establishment of the facility and disclosed Government’s appreciation of the investment, given its magnitude and benefits, such as job creation, food security, economic growth, and poverty reduction amongst others.
He assured them of Government’s support in providing the conducive environment to enable the private sector contribute collectively and effectively to national development.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by cabinet members, the Speaker of the National Assembly Mariam Jack Denton and some members of the National Assembly, Service Chiefs, the media and a cross section of society.