Ghana: Blue skies business model must be expanded

November 27, 2007 |

Source: Accra Mail (Accra)

"Blue Skies Impresses NPP Presidential Aspirant" by Kofi Agyepong

An NPP presidential aspirant, Mr. Jake Obetsebi Lamptey has said that Ghana needs "more of Blue Skies" if the country is to make any headway in its agricultural sector.

In his vision for Ghana publication, Jake lauded the achievements of Blue Skies and said the best way to create employment for the people is to get more such companies in Ghana.

Blue Skies Limited is the only Ghanaian company which has over two thousand workers at one station. Among the over two thousand workers, only six are foreigners. This is the reason why the presidential aspirant sees the establishment of more companies such as Blue Skies as necessary to solving the country's unemployment problem.

The General Manager of Blue Skies company, Mrs Mawunyo Puplampu, told ADM in an interview that, the company before March this year employed a thousand five hundred people, but "after the completion of our new factory we have added over five hundred employees to the company". The company has also increased the salary of the workers by 20%.

Blue Skies, she said, applies a culture which is based on fairness in business, respect for each other and above all trust. "Respect of others is at the heart of the Blue Skies culture. We have men and women in equal numbers at all levels." she said

The General Manager said the company is free of expatriates and the distinctive packages attached to them.

Blue Skies has been cutting, packing and delivering just-harvested fruit to Europe since 1998.

"We believe in providing only the freshest pure fruit products and then delivering them to the consumer as quickly as possible. We add nothing to our fruit. No chemicals, no additives, no artificial flavourings, nothing." she said.

The new factory, which was commissioned by the Duke of Kent on his visit to the country in March this year, can produce twice as the old factory. The company completed the factory in three months after its commissioning.

"It baffles people when we tell them that we have started using the new factory The facility is a modern facility with state-of-the-art refrigeration systems and high tech communications", she said.

The co-owner of the company, Mr. Seth Dei told the ADM that Blue Skies is now facing shortage of pineapples problems. "We have over a hundred and fifty farmers who produce for us but since the new factory started working we have had more demand, which have beaten our projections quite a bit But we are finding ways of solving it", he said assuredly.

He revealed that some personalities within the Blue Skies community have also been harassing them for money.

"After the completion of the new factory, some leaders in the community came to us asking for money According to them we have to pay for the building of the new factory But I told them that we bought the land long ago and the factory is also registered at the appropriate authority", he explained.

Blue Skies is located twenty miles north of Accra near Nsawam.

Mr. Seth Dei said the company employs a lot of people from the surrounding communities, and "the leaders should rather be thanking us for that".

The fruits currently processed by Blue Skies include, "Smooth Cayanne Pineapple", "Fairtrade MD2 Pineapple", "Fairtrade Organic Sugarloaf Pineapple", mango, papaya, coconut, passion fruit and banana.

On the issue of climate change, Mr. Dei said, "at Blue Skies we're by no means perfect but we're determined to act responsibly. We are continually assessing the emissions at every stage of our operations with the aim of reducing our impact on the environment where-ever possible."

He said Blue Skies has already brought in new technologies such as compostable packaging, biomass energy and bio-ethanol fuels to cut down on energy consumption. "And we continue to ensure that we make no compromise on quality and freshness so that when our fruit reaches you in your home, none of it is unnecessarily wasted," he said.

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