The Ghana Export Promotion Authority has made steady progress in rolling out many targeted initiatives in the past one year to boost the exports earning of non-traditional products.
The move is in line with GEPA’s vision to increase annual earnings to $10 billion dollars under the National Export Strategy from the current $2.3 billion.
Speaking in an interview with a cross section of journalists, Ms Kekeli Klenam, the Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, said GEPA’s continuous focus on product development in the last year would be key to meeting the target in the next four years.
However, she said, there would be the need for support from the various sector ministries and agencies to take up the various initiatives to make growth sustainable.
Already, GEPA is undertaking targeted interventions to support the production of pineapple, cashew and coconut as well as sweet potato for the export markets.
There are plans to support and add Avocado to the listed cash crops for export when an initial $3 million dollar funding was secured to start production.
Ms Klenam said GEPA was considering many other products, which development could make the attainment of the target of $10 billion easy.
“We are on course and the years ahead of us will bring out the results and the efforts we have made to transform the sector,” she said.
Touching on the cashew initiative, Ms Klenam said GEPA was targeting over $250 million from export of the crop this year, counting on the pilot mass spraying and distribution of grafted seedlings programme, which was targeted at spraying 70,000 acres annually and was expected to boost yield by 30 percent.
Cashew is currently the leading agricultural non-traditional export earner in 2016, fetching the country $197 million, more than half of the total export revenue from the agricultural non-traditional export.
She said with increased production of raw cashew nuts, GEPA would prioritise processing of the nuts to enable the country to earn more foreign exchange from the value addition.
Ms Klenam said similar interventions for pineapple, where GEPA had delivered over 15 million suckers and committed funding of GH¢4.2 million to the procurement of the suckers was expected to yield an estimated $13.1 million in some few years.
Similarly, the coconut export revitalisation project under which GEPA was distributing seedlings to farmers to boost production for value addition for both the local and international markets.
Already, 60,000 hybrid coconut seedlings worth GH¢600,000 had been distributed to farmers in the Central Region.
On his part, Mr Eric Amoako Twum, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, said GEPA would continue with its market researches to see the prospects for Ghanaian products and services on the international market.
He said other interventions were being made in the areas of beads and handicrafts to increase production to feed the local and international markets and to create jobs.