TOMACAN, a household name in the Bono Region and beyond, was noted for the processing and packaging of vegetables, particularly tomatoes, garden-eggs and okra, as well as all kinds of fruits.
The then buoyant factory became the life-blood of the local economy of Wenchi and its environs in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.
The company itself was called GIHOC Cannery Limited, with the Wenchi Tomacan as its brand name because of its main focus on the canning of tomatoes.
At its peak, the factory directly employed more than 1,000 people while a lot more benefitted indirectly from its operation through the out-grower scheme.
Added to this was the establishment of the Wenchi Tomacan Football Club, which once participated in the country’s elite football division and trained some celebrated footballers in the country, including former Black Stars captain and coach, Mr James Kwasi Appiah.
But today, the company, which has gone through a chequered history after its diversification in 1987, is a pale shadow of its former glory as its new owners have shut down the processing plant since it is not able to get the minimum raw materials for its operations.
In the midst of this, about 500 acres of the company’s land have been encroached upon by residents for the cultivation of cashew and the construction of private buildings.
The GIHOC Cannery Limited was established in the mid-1960s at about eight kilometres on the Wenchi-Ofuman road.
Besides the canning of vegetables and fruits, the company was also known for the production of the popular alcoholic beverage, Bramsco. It also had generators which supplied electricity to Wenchi and its adjourning communities.
During the long vacation, students from the locality were temporarily employed to expose them to real life situation in the early part of their lives.