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Business News of Monday, 3 October 2016

Source: Graphic.com.gh

White Bage rolls out vegetable, fruit retail project

A fruit and vegetables production company, Whyte Bage Limited, has ventured into an ambitious retail and distribution business with the opening of a modern retail and storage facility in Tema.

The opening of the Farmer's Market retail unit at Tema Community 11, apart from serving as a distribution point for major supermarkets in Accra and Tema, will also be a one-stop shop for the sale of fruits and vegetables at relatively lower cost to the public. The company had previously cultivated fruits and vegetables for the export market.

By venturing into wholesale and retail business, officials have engaged some 30,000 local vegetable farmers to supply the company with the products.

Refrigerated vans have been acquired to transport the produce from farms to marketing centres.

The company also imports products that cannot be sourced in Ghana to satisfy the demands of the market.

The establishment of the storage facility, the company explained, was also to ensure an effective management of post-harvest losses of fruits and vegetables.

Inauguration

At a ceremony in Tema to officially open the company’s headquarters and wholesale outlet, the Retail Manager of the company, Mr Bernard Amponsah, attributed incidents of premature deaths to lifestyle and bad eating habits among Ghanaians. “In this age of fast foods and fast technology, it is very easy to be caught up in reckless eating habit,” he said.

Mr Amponsah indicated that the infrastructure put in place by the company had helped cut off activities of intermediaries, which often come with multiple costs.

"This has, therefore, made our products cheaper, with high safety standards," he added.

Awareness

Mr Amponsah also pointed out that while there had been an increasing awareness of the need to eat healthy diets, the high cost of vegetables had made it difficult for people to make such right choices.

Safety concerns about how vegetables were cultivated, he said, had equally remained a challenge to some consumers in the country.

“It has been established that some farmers cultivate fresh produce under unhygienic conditions, including watering the plants from dubious sources and the application of wrong insecticide,” Mr Amponsah said.

He added that it was for this reason that the Farmers Market concept was initiated some two years ago to ensure that only safe and hygienic produce were available to the public.

Expansion

In line with the company’s policy to ensure that only healthy fruits and vegetables were available to the public, Mr Amponsah said his outfit would open retail outlets in residential communities in Accra and its environs.

“We are hoping to open three more retail outlets at North Kaneshie, Labone and East Legon by November 2016. We would also increase our range of products to cover all food items,” he added.

Agriculture Sector

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Mr Abeiku Whyte, indicated that the country’s agriculture sector had the potential for creating fortunes for many if the needed attention was given to it.

According to Mr Whyte, although there are many challenges, these can be turned into opportunities.

"Young people must endeavour to seize the numerous opportunities in the agric sector and make lives better for themselves," Mr Whyte advised.

The Farmer’s Market, Mr Whyte said, would also establish a warehousing facility for the storage of fruits and vegetables in the country.