? ? ? ? ? ? The announcement by the Minister of Trade and Industry about the government’s intention of establishing a sugar factory at Komenda, in the Central Region, sent me reeling with laughter (See “Sugar Factory for Komenda” Daily Guide/Ghanaweb.com 3/7/14). It sent me reeling with laughter because Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, either out of sheer mischief or cultivated ignorance, failed to mention the fact that it was the bloody advent of the founding-father of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) that precipitated the demise of the old Komenda Sugar Factory. And so, really, there was absolutely nothing worth celebrating about the announcement.

 

What is new, and very likely a cheap political point-scoring announcement, is the decision by the Great Northern Star ( aka “Little Dramani”) to build another sugar factory in the North. No mention, predictably, was made about the practical possibility of reviving the long-defunct Asutsuare Sugar Factory, located in the Eastern Region. Both the Komenda and Asutsuare sugar factories date from the early 1960s. They were part of President Nkrumah’s shortlived industrial revolution. They would later be both revived by the brutally slain Gen. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong. It may well be the fact of the latter’s renowned association with the Komenda and Asutsuare sugar factories that prompted the Trade Minister to pretend as if the revival of the Komanda Sugar factory was a wholly new venture originally dreamed up by President Mahama.

 

On the question of President Nkrumah, let me interjectively respond to the Cambridge township-resident Mr. Kofi Ata’s rather absurd accusation that my recent article titled “Nkrumah Was No Different From Eyadema, Bokassa And Mobutu” (Ghanaweb.com 3/11/14) was squarely aimed at harassing the children and relatives of the legendary dictator. It was absurd because Mr. Ata is one of the fanatical NDC-Nkrumaists who routinely describe Dr. Danquah as a “CIA-sponsored” arch-rival of his former protege; such vicious and criminal characterization, of course, presupposes that, somehow, Dr. Danquah has no children and relatives who are routinely being harried and affronted by such political and historiographical mendacity. It also conveniently ignores the well-documented fact that Nkrumah’s Ghana served as the West African headquarters of the erstwhile Soviet KGB.

 

That the announcement about the revival of the Komenda Sugar factory was delivered at the 18th Ghana International Trade Fair, may well have prompted Mr. Iddrisu to intimate that the NDC government was intent on ensuring that Ghana became a major exporter of sugar in the near future. This part of his announcement also found me holding my flanks in order to prevent myself from exploding with laughter. The fact of the matter is that Ghana has yet to become a major producer of chocolates and other value-added post-primary, or post-extractive, cocoa products; and we have been producing at least a quarter of the world’s raw cocoa beans. We have also been growing cocoa for more than a century and until 1987, produced more cocoa beans than any other nation in the world.

 

In other words, Mr. Iddrisu’s promise is one of those vacuous promises that have become commonplace among many a hot-air blowing Ghanaian politician, nowadays, and ought to be roundly condemned in no undertain terms, as it were. Indeed, it would have been more foresighted, and even savvy, if Mr. Iddrisu had first focused his government’s attention on making Ghana self-sufficient in sugar production and consumption before shooting for the highly competitive global market. For charity, as the old, tired maxim goes, ought to begin at home. And home is not synonymous with the internation market, however inextricably intertwined the two may be deemed.

 

To be competitive on the global market, it also goes without saying that Ghana’s domestic sugar market ought to establish its sedulous confidence on the local market with the inordinately foreign-taste oriented proverbial average Ghanaian consumer. It is this winsome kind of strategic market research that is sorely lacking among many a Ghanaian politician and entrepreneur, thus the nauseating rampancy of the sort of rhetorical flippancy indulged by the Trade and Industry Minister.

 

And it is this kind of entrepreneurial anemia, prompting Ghana to import at least $300 million worth of rice annually, and another $200? million worth of edible oil and vegetable imports, that makes the recent protestation against the importation of genetically modified food products all the more pathetic.

 

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*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

E-mail: [email protected]

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