By Lord Kweku Sekyi
As part of its commitment to boost Ghana’s non-traditional export sector, the Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), has distributed 400,000 coconut seedlings to farmers across the country under the Government of Ghana Coconut Revitalization Programme.
The coconut seedlings distribution exercise which commenced in June 2020 and intended to accelerate the production of the tree crop for export, has been lauded by key industry stakeholders, particularly the Coconut Federation of Ghana (COCOFEG), as a timely intervention to farmers in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus health crisis.
CEO of Ignite Farms, a commercial coconut grower and exporter based in the Bono East Region, Jeffery Osei Bonsu, lauded GEPA for the initiative and pledged to continue collaborating with the government to grow the industry.
Mr. Osei Bonsu said the government’s supply of 10,000 coconut seedlings to the company will ease its cost of production and give it a significant boost to thrive in the industry.
Director of GEPA in charge of Ashanti, Bono, Bono East, and Ahafo Regions, George Danquah Ameyaw, said the distribution of seedlings forms part of the Coconut Revitalization Programme which is being spearheaded by GEPA.
He said, just as the Western Region, Ghana’s middle belt has the potential of becoming a hub for the production and processing of coconut for both the domestic and export markets.
Ghana’s coconut industry, according to organisers of the 2019 International Coconut Festival held in Accra, has the potential of earning the country 2.8 billion dollars of revenue annually.
Underscoring its enormous economic potential, the Government of Ghana added coconut into the National Tree Crop Development Authority (NTCDA), which was established in 2019 and mandated to develop and regulate the production, processing, marketing, and export of coconut and other selected tree crops.
The implementation of the National Export Development Strategy (NEDS), which was launched in October 2020 and currently being championed by GEPA, is also expected to develop businesses to produce value-added products for export.
In 2017, Ghana was ranked 14th on the list of the world’s top coconut producers, with 383,960 metric tonnes produced that year alone according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Corporate Statistical Database.