Two leading institutions in Ghana’s fruit and vegetable sector have joined forces to launch a new association, Ghana Vegetables, with the aim to boost exports to new levels in the next few years.
The Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association of Ghana (VEPEAG) and the Ghana Association of Vegetable Exporters (GAVEX) have worked independently over the years and made significant investments into the growth of the sector and its contribution to the Ghanaian economy.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Albert Kassim Diwura, a Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, said the vegetable sector is a priority product of the national export development strategy, which aims to rake in more than 25 billion by 2029.
“I am delighted to know that the two leading institutions and the actors of Ghana vegetable sector have decided to make forces to increase their production and supply of quality vegetables in Ghana to boost support of export to the overseas destinations.”
“This timely union is expected to bring beneficial synergies considering that the two have contributed significantly to the sector and to the economy of Ghana over the years even while operating separately from each other,” he said.
For his part, Dr Felix Mawuli Kamassah, President of VEPEAG, said the move would help increase the volume of export.
“There have been attempts to consolidate the efforts and strategies of the VEPEAG and GAVEX to present a formidable front to pursue reforms that will benefit the producers and exporters of fresh vegetables,” he said.
“We are happy to announce the crystallisation of our efforts into the formation of Ghana Vegetables, a blueprint, that will spur the growth of fruits and vegetables industry in Ghana while taking advantage of existing export market opportunities.”
Among others, the Ghana Vegetables will work to ensure the production of quality volumes of vegetables for local and international markets to promote the consumption of more vegetables by Ghanaians.
Commenting on an authority for the vegetable sector, Dr Kamassah said the Authority would support Ghana Vegetables to draw guidelines to enable members to produce quality vegetables for the international market.
“We have an Authority so we can work together and follow the regulation to ensure quality production,”he said.
Dr Kamassah lauded work done by Hortifresh West Africa in laying the platform for the birth of the new Ghana Vegetables project.
Ghana’s favourable conditions for vegetable cultivation, the proximity to and bilateral relations with the European Union (EU) have positioned the country at an advantage to benefit from vegetable exports.
However, this advantage has not been fully exploited over the years due to low productivity and other challenges.
Dr Kamassah lauded work done by Hortifresh WestAfrica in laying the platform for the birth of the new Ghana Vegetables project.
Hortifresh is a programme supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to establish a sustainable and internationally competitive fruit and vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth, food and nutrition security in Ghana and Ivory Coast.
Hortifresh replaced the GhanaVeg programme that was implemented from 2013 to 2017 with the aim of developing a competitive and sustainable vegetable sector in Ghana.