Mauritius sugar major Omnicane to invest in Ghana plantation projects
Omnicane’s participation in the sugar plantation business is expected to help the West African economy develop its sugarcane industry, given the expertise of the island economy in sugar production. (Image: Proudly African)
Mauritius’ leading sugar producer Omnicane is set to invest about USD 250 million (approx Rs 7.7 billion) in various sugar plantation projects in Savelugu in the Northern region of Ghana, according to reports in the local press.
This sizeable investment into the sugar project, which is forecast to produce more than 100,000 tonnes of refined sugar annually, follows upon the heels of a test that has conclusively proved the project’s commercial and production viability.
Moreover, the five-year project is expected to yield job prospects for residents in one of the most poverty-stricken areas in the country.
The Northern Regional Minister of Ghana, Alhaji Mohammed Limuna Muniru, observed that Omnicane’s participation in the sugar plantation business will help the West African economy develop its sugarcane industry.
Mauritius practices monoculture, with sugarcane being its staple cash crop. Despite the impending abolition of the EU sugar quota in 2017, sugarcane remains central to Mauritius’ exports, employment and share of gross domestic product.
Sugarcane, which is grown on about 90% of the cultivated land area of the island economy, accounts for 15 percent of export earnings.
The minister also told the local press that a number of training programmes have been put in place to enhance the people’s skill-sets ahead of the project’s start.
He noted that efforts are being made to train more youth to perform their duties along expected lines, ensuring that the raw materials produced from the region meet international standards and attracting more investors that will contribute to the region’s development.
He added that the investment is also expected to strengthen bilateral relations between Mauritius and Ghana, and proves the potential of South-South cooperation in promoting intra-Africa trade.
Unfortunately, despite various efforts to promote intra-African trade, it currently accounts for only 10% of total African trade volumes. This compares poorly to advanced rates of 40% for trade between North American countries and as much as 60% among Western European countries.
Given the poor track record of intra-regional trade, a number of people are becoming frustrated at the slow pace of the integration process, further affecting intra-Africa trade.
Omnicane was launched in July 2009 through a strategic re-branding of Mon-Trésor-Mon-Désert Ltd, a long established sugar cane group in Mauritius whose origins can be traced back to the 1850s.
It’s main activities currently include the production of refined sugar, which is about 150,000 tonnes per year and of a quality wholly compliant with the EU’s stringent food standards, and the generation of energy from bagasse and coal.
Omnicane is also involved in vegetable, palm heart, fresh water shrimp and venison production as well as flower production, mainly Anthurium andreanum, for the export market.
Other activities include logistics through Omnicane Logistics for transport of cane, sugar, molasses, rocks, etc. It is involved in stone crushing for aggregates for the building industry through Sud Concassage Ltée.