By: Kebba AF Touray
The Trade Committee of the National Assembly yesterday continued its site visit to the GACH Tomato Paste Factory and the GACEM Cement Company.
Abubacar Jawara, the CEO of GACH Company, said the 10 million dollar asset factory, is specialized mainly in tomato and water production, as well as mining and construction which yielded dividend and has resulted in the construction of the GACH factory, which begun investment in the Gambia in 2008 and currently has 185 employees.
He said the factory aims to expand its operations in tomato paste production, provide job opportunities, as well as provide market for its production.
Sait Drammeh, the MD of the factory, said the first phase of their operation entails the importation of tomato jam and processing it into paste; the second phase would entail production of tomato paste in the country through engaging the farming communities to aid the production of their needed variety, as in line with horticulture value chain addition in the industrialization crusade.
He said the factory has a daily capacity of consuming 120 tonnes of fresh tomato. This, he said, is huge and that talks are at an advanced level with IFAD, NEMA and the farming communities, to meet the production varieties, adding that the varieties available currently are for consumption yields between 20 to 30 tonnes per hectare.
The management decried inadequate financial support and electricity supply, lack of human capacity as constraints, but expressed that efforts are being devised to mitigating the challenges.
At GACEM, Mr. Fred Oboe Sam, Works Manager, said GACEM is part of German International Company called Heidelberg Cement Company. It aims to meeting the cement need of its consumers. He said the factory has a production capacity of 200,000 tonnes yearly, with current total of 34 full time staff and 45 contractors.
Chairperson Muhammed Mahanera, told managers of the factories that the visit aims to obtain first- hand information on the operational status of the line institutions, the working conditions of staff and compliance with the rules guiding trade, to ensure through concerted efforts that the concerns raised be addressed and successes would be enhanced