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Interview with Elvis

When did you join Koa and what is your role at the new factory project?

I joined Koa in May 2021 as Senior Quality Manager. At the new factory, I played a part in the planning phase and am now the onsite coordinator of the implementation activities.

What were the so far biggest challenges in this ambitious project?

In the beginning, setting up the total budget was challenging as nobody who was involved build a cocoa fruit factory of this size before. Then, we discovered a challenging topography after the land was cleared.  After that, the global and national economic challenges started right at the time of implementing the project. Due to the global crises, inflation in Ghana went over 100%  which had a great impact on material costs. Despite the challenges, we tackled them and are happy to see where the project is at this point. 

Why has the decision been made to build the factory in Achiase?

In our preliminary assessment, we found this district as one of the high-density cocoa zones in Ghana. The high prevalence of galamsey (illegal small-scale mining) in other areas of Ghana further narrowed the location option for the factory. Finally, in this area, we had to consider a location that gives us access to most farming communities and has the necessary amenities for a reasonably comfortable balance between rural and urban life so we can attract both local employees and educated experts for the facility’s operation.

How much bigger is this factory compared to the first one in Akrofuom?

Once fully scaled, the factory in Achiase will increase our annual production capacity tenfold. Considering land surface coverage, the first phase of the new factory will cover roughly 8 acres (8 times bigger than the factory in Akrofuom) for the facility. An additional 6 acres in the second phase to host an administration building with a car park, technical workshop etc. The remaining area will be developed as demonstration farms for agroecological purposes. 

What’s your favourite machine on the construction site?

The machine that compresses the concrete. On a lighter note, do not ask me why. This probably is the smallest I guess of all the construction equipment but plays a very important role in ensuring concrete settles properly on the civil side.

Are the processes in the first and second factory similar?

The processes in principle are the same. Equipment designs and size however vary significantly due to the higher volumes, efficiency and elimination of manual processes. The goal is to scale everything: capacity, volumes, and of course, impact!

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